Aberrant expression of novel and previously described cell membrane markers in human breast cancer cell lines and tumors

Huayi Huang, Jeff Groth, Khalid Sossey-Alaoui, Lesleyann Hawthorn, Stephanie Beall, Joseph Geradts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Purpose: In a previous gene expression array study, we identified some 300 genes that were differentially expressed in human epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (HER2)-positive versus HER2-negative breast cancer cells. We have now done validation experiments on a group of three cell membrane components that had previously not been implicated in breast cancer. We also studied the expression of three other cell membrane proteins known to play a role in mammary neoplasia. Experimental Design: By immunohistochemistry, we examined up to 130 archival breast carcinomas for Celsr2, E-cadherin, Kai1, and CD9 expression. The expression levels of NET-6 and TROP-2 were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR in a subset of frozen tumors. We also studied fresh pellets and paraffin-embedded cell buttons of nine human breast cell lines. The relationship between the expression of all six membrane proteins and a variety of pathologic and biological variables, including estrogen receptor, HER2, and epidermal growth factor receptor status, was also examined. The NET-6 gene was transfected into a low-expressing cell line, and the effect on cellular morphology, growth, and invasion in vitro was recorded. Results: Celsr2 was down-regulated in one cell line and in 7% of breast cancers. E-cadherin, Kai1, and CD9 were down-regulated in 35%, 76%, and 79% of tumors, respectively, confirming the important role of these markers in human mammary neoplasia. In breast cancer cell lines and tissues, TROP-2 was generally expressed at low levels, although a few specimens showed relative overexpression. NET-6 levels were lower in HER2-negative breast carcinoma cells. In addition, NET-6 was markedly down-regulated in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers, and expression was lowest in "basal-like" tumors. Ectopic expression of NET-6 in low-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells altered cellular morphology, inhibited growth in vitro, and decreased invasion in a Boyden chamber assay. Conclusions: We have confirmed the expression of three new membrane markers that had previously not been implicated in human breast cancer, and one of them (NET-6) was correlated with HER2 and estrogen receptor status. NET-6 levels were decreased in estrogen receptor - negative and high-grade tumors, and ectopic expression of this gene had an inhibitory effect on proliferation and invasion. Thus, NET-6 may represent a novel breast cancer suppressor gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4357-4364
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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