Functional proteomic profiling of triple-negative breast cancer.
- Proteomics of Cellular Signaling
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that comprises various disease entities, all of which share a set of common features: a lack of expression of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, respectively. Because of their receptor status, conventional chemotherapy remains the main therapeutic option for TNBC patients. We employed a reverse phase protein array approach (RPPA), complemented by immunohistochemistry, to quantitatively profile the activation state of 84 actionable key signaling intermediates and phosphoproteins in a set of 44 TNBC samples. We performed supervised and unsupervised approaches to proteomic data analysis to identify groups of samples sharing common characteristics that could be amenable to existing therapies. We found the heterogenous activation of multiple pathways, with PI3 K/AKT/mTOR signaling being the most common event. Some specific individualized therapeutic possibilities include the expression of oncogenic KIT in association with cytokeratin 15 and Erk1/2 positive tumors, both of which may have clinical value.