Novel gene rearrangements in transformed breast cells identified by high-resolution breakpoint analysis of chromosomal aberrations

Kristian Unger, Johannes Wienberg, Andrew Clive Riches, Ludwig Hieber, Axel Walch, Andreas Brown, Patricia C. M. O'Brien, Caecilia Briscoe, Lindsey Jane Gray, Elke Rodriguez, Gerhard Jackl, Jeroen Knijnenburg, Giovanni Tallini, Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, Horst Zitzelsberger

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Chromosomal copy number alterations and chromosomal rearrangements are frequent mutations in human cancer. Unlike copy number alterations, little is known about the role and occurrence of chromosomal rearrangements in breast cancer. This may be due to the fact that chromosome-based breakpoint analysis is widely restricted to cultured cells. In order to identify gene rearrangements in breast cancer, we studied the chromosomal breakpoints in radiation-transformed epithelial breast cell lines using a high-resolution array-based approach using 1 Mb bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) arrays. The breakpoints were further narrowed down by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with clones from the 32 k BAC library. The analysis of the cell lines B42-11 and B42-16 revealed rearrangements of chromosomes 7, 8, 10 and 12. We identified the genes Has2, Grid1, Ret, Cpm, Tbx3, Tbx5, Tuba1a, Wnt1 and Arf3 within the breakpoint regions. Quantitative RT-PCR showed a deregulated expression of all of these candidate genes except for Tbx5 and Tbx3. This is the first study demonstrating gene rearrangements and their deregulated mRNA expression in radiation-transformed breast cells. Since the gene rearrangements occurred in the transformed and tumourigenic cell lines only, it is likely that these were generated in conjunction with malignant transformation of the epithelial breast cells and therefore might reflect early molecular events in breast carcinogenesis. Initial studies indicate that these gene alterations are also found in sporadic breast cancers. Endocrine-Related Cancer (2010) 17 87-98

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


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