Identification of transmembrane proteins as potential prognostic markers and therapeutic targets in breast cancer by a screen for signal sequence encoding transcripts

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This study demonstrates, through a combination of stringent screening methods and thorough validation, that it is possible to identify transmembrane proteins preferentially expressed in primary breast tumour cells. mRNA was extracted from tumour cells isolated from invasive breast cancers and it was then subtracted against normal breast tissue mRNA prior to the generation of a signal sequence-trap library. Screening of the library identified 31 positive clones encoding 12 cell-surface and 12 secreted proteins. The expression of a subset of transmembrane genes was then interrogated using a high-throughput method (tissue microarray) coupled with cutting-edgein situtechniques in a large cohort of patients who had undergone uniform adjuvant chemotherapy. Expression of CD98 heavy chain (CD98HC) and low-level expression of the insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor/mannose-6-phosphate receptor (IGF2R/M6PR) correlated with poor patient prognosis in the whole cohort. Expression of bradykinin receptor B1 (BDKRB1) and testis enhanced gene transcript (TEGT) correlated with good prognosis in woman with oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast tumours. These results indicate that this combined approach of isolating primary tumour cells, generating a library to specifically isolate signal-sequence-containing transcripts, andin situhybridization on tissue microarrays successfully identified novel prognostic markers (BDKRB1, CD98hc, and TEGT) and potential transmembrane therapeutic targets (CD98hc) in breast cancer.

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