Bone is the preferential site of distant metastasis in breast carcinoma (BrCa). Patients with metastasis restricted to bone (BO) usually show a longer overall survival compared to patients who rapidly develop multiple metastases also involving liver and lung. Hence, molecular predisposition to generate bone and visceral metastases (BV) represents a clear indication of poor clinical outcome. We performed microarray analysis with two different chip platforms, Affymetrix and Agilent, on bone metastasis samples from BO and BV patients. The unsupervised hierarchical clustering of the resulting transcriptomes correlated with the clinical progression, segregating the BO from the BV profiles. Matching the twofold significantly regulated genes from Affymetrix and Agilent chips resulted in a 15-gene signature with 13 upregulated and two downregulated genes in BV versus BO bone metastasis samples. In order to validate the resulting signature, we isolated different MDA-MB-231 clonal subpopulations that metastasize only in the bone (MDA-BO) or in bone and visceral tissues (MDA-BV). Six of the signature genes were also significantly upregulated in MDA-BV compared to MDA-BO clones. A group of upregulated genes, including Hemoglobin B (HBB), were involved in oxygen metabolism, and in vitro functional analysis of HBB revealed that its expression in the MDA subpopulations was associated with a reduced production of hydrogen peroxide. Expression of HBB was detected in primary BrCa tissue but not in normal breast epithelial cells. Metastatic lymph nodes were frequently more positive for HBB compared to the corresponding primary tumors, whereas BO metastases had a lower expression than BV metastases, suggesting a positive correlation between HBB and ability of bone metastasis to rapidly spread to other organs. We propose that HBB, along with other genes involved in oxygen metabolism, confers a more aggressive metastatic phenotype in BrCa cells disseminated to bone.
- BONE METASTASIS
- BREAST CANCER
- OXYGEN PEROXIDE
- VISCERAL METASTASES
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism