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Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Apr 1;10(7):2429-40.

Dysregulated expression of adamalysin-thrombospondin genes in human breast carcinoma.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.


The adamalysin-thrombospondin (ADAMTS) proteinases are a relatively newly described branch of the metzincin family that contain metalloproteinase, disintegrin, and thrombospondin motifs. They have been implicated in various cellular events, including cleavage of proteoglycans, extracellular matrix degradation, inhibition of angiogenesis, gonadal development, and organogenesis. However, in many cases, their normal physiological roles and their potential for dysregulation in malignancy remain to be established. The expression profile of ADAMTS1-20 in human breast carcinoma was undertaken by real-time PCR using RNA isolated from malignant tumors, nonneoplastic mammary tissue, and breast cancer cell lines to identify altered regulation that may have potential pathogenetic and prognostic significance. Our studies show that seven of the ADAMTS genes (ADAMTS1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 18) are consistently down-regulated in breast carcinomas with respect to nonneoplastic mammary tissue, irrespective of the heterogeneity of the samples and the tumor type or grade (Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.0001 for each gene). Conversely, ADAMTS4, 6, 14, and 20 are consistently up-regulated in breast carcinomas (P = 0.005, P < 0.0001, P = 0.003, and P = 0.001, respectively). ADAMTS2, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, and 19 show no significant difference between the sample types. ADAMTS1, 2, 7, 8, 10, and 12 are expressed predominantly in stromal fibroblasts. ADAMTS3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 13-20 inclusive are expressed predominantly in myoepithelial cells; all appear to be relatively poorly expressed in luminal epithelial cells. ADAMTS15 has emerged as being an independent predictor of survival, with RNA expression levels significantly lower (P = 0.007) in grade 3 breast carcinoma compared with grade 1 and 2 breast carcinoma.

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