A number of approaches have been used to identify genes important in breast cancer. In one approach the genes already shown to be involved in other tumors, such as p53 and Her2neu, were examined. A second approach examined genes detected through genetic screening of families with a high incidence of breast cancer, for example, BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. We used a third approach, subtractive hybridization, to identify and clone genes that were preferentially expressed in breast cancer cells compared to normal mammary epithelium. Instead of analyzing breast cancer cell lines, we examined fresh human breast cancer specimens. By subtracting normal mammary epithelial cDNA from breast cancer cDNA, we were able to clone several genes overexpressed in breast cancer. Two of these genes, L19 and MLN70, were previously reported to be overexpressed in breast cancer. Three of these genes, L19, L34, and MLN70, were localized to a region on chromosome 17 where Her2/neu and BRCA-1 are found. In addition, we isolated a gene we call breast cancer associated gene-1 that was expressed almost exclusively in fresh breast cancer tissue and not in normal mammary epithelium or breast cancer cell lines. We were unable to detect expression of breast cancer associated gene-1 in cell lines from melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, lymphoma, or leukemia. The full-length sequence from two separate breast cancer specimens revealed one amino acid difference compared to the sequence from normal breast epithelial tissue. Further studies are necessary to determine whether these genes contribute to breast cancer development or can be used as therapeutic targets.
breast cancer bcg-1 L19 L34 MAGE-like MLN70 subtractive hybridization