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PLoS One. 2018 Jun 27;13(6):e0199254. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199254. eCollection 2018.

High CD90 (THY-1) expression positively correlates with cell transformation and worse prognosis in basal-like breast cancer tumors.

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NUCEL (Cell and Molecular Therapy Center), Internal Medicine Department, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Biochemistry Department, Chemistry Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Computer Science, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Anatomic Pathology, A. C. Camargo Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, United States of America.


Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women, with the basal-like triple negative (TNBC) being the most agressive one, displaying the poorest prognosis within the ductal carcinoma subtype. Due to the lack of adequate molecular targets, the diagnosis and treatment of patients with the TNBC phenotype has been a great challenge. In a previous work, we identified CD90/Thy-1 as being highly expressed in the aggressive high malignancy grade Hs578T basal-like breast tumor cell line, pointing to this molecule as a promising breast tumor marker, which should be further investigated. Here, CD90 expression was analyzed in human breast cancer samples and its functional role was investigated to better assess the oncogenic nature of CD90 in mammary cells. Quantification of CD90 expression in human breast cancer samples, by tissue microarray, showed that high CD90 positivity correlates with metastasis and poor patient survival in the basal-like subtype. The functional genetic approach, by overexpression in the CD90 cDNA in a basal-like normal mammary cell line (MCF10A) and knockdown in a highly malignant cell line (Hs578T), allowed us to demonstrate that CD90 is involved with several cellular processes that lead to malignant transformation, such as: morphological change, increased cell proliferation, invasiveness, metastasis and activation of the EGFR pathway. Therefore, our results reveal that CD90 is involved with malignant transformation in breast cancer cell lines and is correlated with metastasis and poor patient survival in the basal-like subtype, being considered as a promising new breast cancer target.

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