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Int J Cancer. 2003 Jun 10;105(2):182-5.

Novel alternatively spliced variant with a deletion of 52 BP in exon 6 of the progesterone receptor gene is observed frequently in breast cancer tissues.

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Center for Molecular Biology and Cytogenetics, SRL Inc., Tokyo, Japan.


The human progesterone receptor (PR) is a ligand-activated nuclear transcription factor that mediates progesterone action in target tissues. We found a novel alternatively spliced variant (ASV) of the PR mRNA in breast cancer tissues. The deleted transcript was characterized by an out-of-frame deletion of 52 bp in exon 6 (PR delta6/2 ASV). The PR delta6/2 ASV mRNA results in a partial defect in the region of the ligand-binding domain of the hormone receptor, where conserved residues are missing from the core of the protein. To clarify the clinical significance of the PR delta6/2 ASV, we investigated the expression of this ASV in noncancerous and cancerous tissues from patients with breast cancer using RT-PCR. The novel PR delta6/2 mRNA was detected in 24 of 39 (61.5%) cancerous tissues and in 3 of 39 (7.7%) noncancerous tissues from patients with breast cancer. PR delta6/2 ASV mRNA was expressed more frequently in breast cancer tissues than in noncancerous tissues (p < 0.0001), which suggests a possible relationship between the expression of PR delta6/2 and breast cancer. Our observations may provide a novel strategy for the genetic diagnosis of breast cancer.

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