Gene expression profiles of primary breast tumors maintained in distant metastases.


It has been debated for decades how cancer cells acquire metastatic capability. It is unclear whether metastases are derived from distinct subpopulations of tumor cells within the primary site with higher metastatic potential, or whether they originate from a random fraction of tumor cells. Here we show, by gene expression profiling, that human primary breast tumors are strikingly similar to the distant metastases of the same patient. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering, multidimensional scaling, and permutation testing, as well as the comparison of significantly expressed genes within a pair, reveal their genetic similarity. Our findings suggest that metastatic capability in breast cancer is an inherent feature and is not based on clonal selection.

More about this publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • Volume 100
  • Issue nr. 26
  • Pages 15901-5
  • Publication date 23-12-2003

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