Metastatic progression and gene expression between breast cancer cell lines from African American and Caucasian women

Haile F Yancy1, Jacquline A Mason2, Sharla Peters2, Charles E Thompson3, George K Littleton3, Marti Jett4, Agnes A Day2
1Department of Arts and Sciences, Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD, 21216; Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059, USA
2Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059, USA
3Department of Physiology, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059, USA
4Division of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
DOI: 10.1186/1477-3163-6-8


African American (AA) women have a lower overall incidence of breast cancer than do Caucasian (CAU) women, but a higher overall mortality. Little is known as to why the incidence of breast cancer is lower yet mortality is higher in AA women. Many studies speculate that this is only a socio-economical problem. This investigation suggests the possibility that molecular mechanisms contribute to the increased mortality of AA women with breast cancer. This study investigates the expression of 14 genes which have been shown to play a role in cancer metastasis. Cell lines derived from AA and CAU patients were analyzed to demonstrate alterations in the transcription of genes known to be involved in cancer and the metastatic process. Total RNA was isolated from cell lines and analyzed by RT-PCR analysis. Differential expression of the 14 targeted genes between a spectrum model (6 breast cancer cell lines and 2 non-cancer breast cell lines) and a metastasis model (12 metastatic breast cancer cell lines) were demonstrated. Additionally, an in vitro comparison of the expression established differences in 5 of the 14 biomarker genes between African American and Caucasian breast cell lines. Results from this study indicates that altered expression of the genes Atp1b1, CARD 10, KLF4, Spint2, and Acly may play a role in the aggressive phenotype seen in breast cancer in African American women.