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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Feb;125(3):785-95. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1280-6. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Different gene expressions are associated with the different molecular subtypes of inflammatory breast cancer.

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Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The goal of this study was to determine whether gene expression differences exist between inflammatory breast cancers (IBC) and T stage-matched non-IBC patients stratified by hormone receptor and HER2 status. We used Affymetrix GeneChips to analyze 82 tumor samples (25 T4d patients, and 57 T4a-c patients) of newly diagnosed breast cancers. Genes that were differentially expressed between the IBC and non-IBC specimens were identified using the t test, and differential expression of gene sets was assessed using gene set analysis. Three distinct clinical subtypes of IBC and non-IBC were compared: ER-positive/HER2-normal, HER2-amplified, and ER-negative/HER2-normal. When we compared expression data from all IBC with all non-IBC, we found no significant differences after adjusting for multiple testing. When IBC and non-IBC tumors were compared by clinical subtype, however, significant differences emerged. Complement and immune system-related pathways were overexpressed in ER-positive/HER2-normal IBC. Protein translation and mTOR signaling were overexpressed in HER2-amplified IBC. Apoptosis-, neural-, and lipid metabolism-related pathways were overexpressed in ER-negative/HER2-normal IBC compared with non-IBC of the same receptor phenotype. In this T stage-matched case-control study, the survival curves of patients with IBC and non-IBC were similar for all three clinical subtypes. IBC tumors can be divided into molecular and clinical subtypes similar to those of non-IBC. Clinical subtypes of IBC show molecular differences compared with similar subtypes of non-IBC.

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