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Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 57–68 | Cite as

Characterizing the heterogeneity of triple-negative breast cancers using microdissected normal ductal epithelium and RNA-sequencing

  • Milan RadovichEmail author
  • Susan E. Clare
  • Rutuja Atale
  • Ivanesa Pardo
  • Bradley A. Hancock
  • Jeffrey P. Solzak
  • Nawal Kassem
  • Theresa Mathieson
  • Anna Maria V. Storniolo
  • Connie Rufenbarger
  • Heather A. Lillemoe
  • Rachel J. Blosser
  • Mi Ran Choi
  • Candice A. Sauder
  • Diane Doxey
  • Jill E. Henry
  • Eric E. Hilligoss
  • Onur Sakarya
  • Fiona C. Hyland
  • Matthew Hickenbotham
  • Jin Zhu
  • Jarret Glasscock
  • Sunil Badve
  • Mircea Ivan
  • Yunlong Liu
  • George W. Sledge
  • Bryan P. Schneider
Preclinical study

Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are a heterogeneous set of tumors defined by an absence of actionable therapeutic targets (ER, PR, and HER-2). Microdissected normal ductal epithelium from healthy volunteers represents a novel comparator to reveal insights into TNBC heterogeneity and to inform drug development. Using RNA-sequencing data from our institution and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) we compared the transcriptomes of 94 TNBCs, 20 microdissected normal breast tissues from healthy volunteers from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank, and 10 histologically normal tissues adjacent to tumor. Pathway analysis comparing TNBCs to optimized normal controls of microdissected normal epithelium versus classic controls composed of adjacent normal tissue revealed distinct molecular signatures. Differential gene expression of TNBC compared with normal comparators demonstrated important findings for TNBC-specific clinical trials testing targeted agents; lack of over-expression for negative studies and over-expression in studies with drug activity. Next, by comparing each individual TNBC to the set of microdissected normals, we demonstrate that TNBC heterogeneity is attributable to transcriptional chaos, is associated with non-silent DNA mutational load, and explains transcriptional heterogeneity in addition to known molecular subtypes. Finally, chaos analysis identified 146 core genes dysregulated in >90 % of TNBCs revealing an over-expressed central network. In conclusion, use of microdissected normal ductal epithelium from healthy volunteers enables an optimized approach for studying TNBC and uncovers biological heterogeneity mediated by transcriptional chaos.

Keywords

Triple-negative breast cancer RNA-seq TCGA Normal breast Adjacent normal Ductal epithelium 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Mark Mooney, James Elliott, Darryl Leon, and Ryan Richt for discussions of next-generation sequencing and analysis. We also like to thank Benjamin Haibe-Kains for assistance with PAM50 analysis and to thank Carla Bullitt, Stuart Tugendreich, Gordon Janaway, and Bryant Macy for assistance with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. We also like to thank the IUSCC Tissue Procurement and Distribution Core for providing tissues for IHC and qPCR validations. Finally, we would like to thank and acknowledge the TCGA for the sample procurement, production of the TNBC RNA-seq data, and the clinical annotation of TCGA samples used in this publication. This work was supported by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® (S.E.C., G.W.S., A.V.S., S.B., B.P.S.), Breast Cancer Research Foundation (S.E.C., A.V.S.) and the Catherine Peachey Fund (M.R., S.E.C., G.W.S., A.V.S., C.R., B.P.S.).. M.R. was supported by pre-doctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health, NRSA 1T32CA111198 Cancer Biology Training Program and 5TL1RR025759 Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Career Development Award.

Conflict of interest

M. Radovich (Speaker honoraria from Life Technologies Corp.), E. E. Hilligoss (employee and stock ownership Life Technologies Corp.), O. Sakarya (former employee Life Technologies Corp; current employee, stock ownership, and funding Genomic Health), F. C. Hyland (Employee and Stock Ownership, Life Technologies Corp), M. Hickenbotham (employee Life Technologies), J. Zhu (former employee Cofactor Genomics, LLC), and J. Glasscock (employee and stock ownership Cofactor Genomics, LLC).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milan Radovich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan E. Clare
    • 1
  • Rutuja Atale
    • 1
  • Ivanesa Pardo
    • 1
  • Bradley A. Hancock
    • 1
  • Jeffrey P. Solzak
    • 1
  • Nawal Kassem
    • 2
  • Theresa Mathieson
    • 3
  • Anna Maria V. Storniolo
    • 2
    • 3
  • Connie Rufenbarger
    • 3
  • Heather A. Lillemoe
    • 1
  • Rachel J. Blosser
    • 1
  • Mi Ran Choi
    • 1
  • Candice A. Sauder
    • 1
  • Diane Doxey
    • 1
  • Jill E. Henry
    • 3
  • Eric E. Hilligoss
    • 6
  • Onur Sakarya
    • 6
  • Fiona C. Hyland
    • 6
  • Matthew Hickenbotham
    • 6
  • Jin Zhu
    • 7
  • Jarret Glasscock
    • 7
  • Sunil Badve
    • 4
  • Mircea Ivan
    • 2
  • Yunlong Liu
    • 5
  • George W. Sledge
    • 8
  • Bryan P. Schneider
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of General Surgery, Department of SurgeryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of MedicineIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue BankIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Medical & Molecular GeneticsIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  6. 6.Life Technologies CorporationSouth San FranciscoUSA
  7. 7.Cofactor Genomics, LLCSt. LouisUSA
  8. 8.Division of Oncology, Department of MedicineStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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