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Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Feb;8(2):361-7.

Expression profile of tyrosine kinases in breast cancer.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The tyrosine kinase (TK) family includes many growth factor receptors, cell cycle regulators, and oncoproteins. Moreover, the receptor TKs HER2/neu and epidermal growth factor receptor are overexpressed in a subgroup of breast tumors and correlate with more aggressive behavior. Thus, TKs are being actively pursued as therapeutic targets. The purpose of this study was to determine the expression pattern of TKs in breast cancer. Reverse transcription-PCR was performed with degenerate primers based on conserved motifs of the catalytic domains of TKs, and the identities of the reverse transcription-PCR products were determined by digestion with a panel of restriction enzymes. Using a TK display assay, we studied the TK profiles of 13 breast cancer cell lines and two normal immortalized breast epithelial cell lines. The TK display assay reproducibly demonstrated known differences in HER-2/neu expression between cell lines. Several TKs, including receptor TKs Axl, Cak, fibroblast growth factor receptor 4, HEK8, HER2/neu, c-MET, RET, and nonreceptor TKs ARG, BRK, Janus kinase 1, Rak, and YES were detected in breast cancer cells. Several kinases were differentially expressed among the cell lines. Similar TK profiles were found using RNA from human breast tumors. We conclude that there is significant variability in the TK expression pattern of breast cancers. This variability should be considered when selecting TK inhibitors to treat patients.

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