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Nucleic Acids Res. 1999 Oct 15;27(20):4008-17.

Identification of differentially expressed genes associated with HER-2/neu overexpression in human breast cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1678, USA.


Amplification and resulting overexpression of the HER-2/ neu proto-oncogene is found in approximately 30% of human breast and 20% of human ovarian cancers. To better understand the molecular events associated with overexpression of this gene in human breast cancer cells, differential hybridization was used to identify genes whose expression levels are altered in cells overexpressing this receptor. Of 16 000 clones screened from an overexpression cell cDNA library, a total of 19 non-redundant clones were isolated including seven whose expression decreases (C clones) and 12 which increase (H clones) in association with HER-2/ neu overexpression. Of these, five C clones and 11 H clones have been confirmed to be differentially expressed by northern blot analysis. This group includes nine genes of known function, three previously sequenced genes of relatively uncharacterized function and four novel genes without a match in GenBank. Examination of the previously characterized genes indicates that they represent sequences known to be frequently associated with the malignant phenotype, suggesting that the subtraction cloning strategy used identified appropriate target genes. In addition, differential expression of 12 of 16 (75%) cDNAs identified in the breast cancer cell lines are also seen in HER-2/ neu -overexpressing ovarian cancer cells, indicating that they represent generic associations with HER-2/ neu overexpression. Finally, up-regulation of two of the identified cDNAs, one novel and one identified but as yet uncharacterized gene, was confirmed in human breast cancer specimens in association with HER-2/ neu overexpression. Further characterization of these genes may yield insight into the fundamental biology and pathogenetic effects of HER-2/ neu overexpression in human breast and ovarian cancer cells.

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