Journal Article

Gene expression profiling of NMU-induced rat mammary tumors: cross species comparison with human breast cancer

Maren M. Chan, Xin Lu, Faisal M. Merchant, J.Dirk Iglehart and Penelope L. Miron

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 26, issue 8, pages 1343-1353
Published in print August 2005 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Gene expression profiling of NMU-induced rat mammary tumors: cross species comparison with human breast cancer

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Breast cancer is a complex genetic disease characterized by the accumulation of multiple molecular alterations. The NMU breast cancer model induced in the rat is used for the study of mammary carcinogenesis because it closely mimics human breast disease. To assess the validity of this model from a more global molecular perspective, and also to devise a general technique to compare animal profiles with human microarray studies, we have characterized 25 NMU-induced mammary tumors and 11 normal glands using a combination of immunohistochemical and microarray analyses. The rat mammary carcinomas were classified as non-invasive, ER-positive ductal carcinomas with a composition of differentiated epithelial and myoepithelial cell lineages. Gene expression profiles generated using rat Affymetrix arrays containing 15 866 genes demonstrated that the rat mammary tumors are homogeneous and that H-ras mutations did not confer a unique molecular signature. We compared the resulting rat profiles with those obtained from a human dataset by merging the raw microarray data, using an approach that involves a combination of cross-species and cross-platform analysis. Using this novel strategy, we demonstrate the ability of 2305 rat orthologs to recapitulate the classification of human tumors derived from human Affymetrix arrays. The gene expression profiles of the NMU-induced primary tumors were most similar to ER-positive, low to intermediate grade breast cancer. Our technique provides a means to correlate gene expression data from animal models of cancer to human cancer and disease states.

Keywords: DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ; DMBA, 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene; KNN analysis, k-nearest neighbor analysis; MDS, Multi-Dimensional Scaling; NMU, N-methyl-N-nitrosourea; PCA, Principle Component Analysis

Journal Article.  9149 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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