Breast cancers have been extensively studied at the genomic and transcriptomic levels in the hope of tailoring therapeutic regimens. Researchers generate deep coverage proteomes from several clinical breast cancer samples, and use machine learning techniques to uncover biological processes altered in specific cancer subtypes.
Systems-wide profiling of breast cancer has almost always entailed RNA and DNA analysis by microarray and sequencing techniques. Marked developments in proteomic technologies now enable very deep profiling of clinical samples, with high identification and quantification accuracy.
Researchers analysed 40 oestrogen receptor positive (luminal), Her2 positive and triple negative breast tumors and reached a quantitative depth of >10,000 proteins.
These proteomic profiles identified functional differences between breast cancer subtypes, related to energy metabolism, cell growth, mRNA translation and cell–cell communication.
Furthermore, they derived a signature of 19 proteins, which differ between the breast cancer subtypes, through support vector machine (SVM)-based classification and feature selection.
Remarkably, only three proteins of the signature were associated with gene copy number variations and eleven were also reflected on the mRNA level.
These breast cancer features revealed by our work provide novel insights that may ultimately translate to development of subtype-specific therapeutics.