Early Detection Research Network

Functionally recurrent rearrangements of the MAST kinase and Notch gene families in breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that has a wide range of molecular aberrations and clinical outcomes. Here we used paired-end transcriptome sequencing to explore the landscape of gene fusions in a panel of breast cancer cell lines and tissues. We observed that individual breast cancers have a variety of expressed gene fusions. We identified two classes of recurrent gene rearrangements involving genes encoding microtubule-associated serine-threonine kinase (MAST) and members of the Notch family. Both MAST and Notch-family gene fusions have substantial phenotypic effects in breast epithelial cells. Breast cancer cell lines harboring Notch gene rearrangements are uniquely sensitive to inhibition of Notch signaling, and overexpression of MAST1 or MAST2 gene fusions has a proliferative effect both in vitro and in vivo. These findings show that recurrent gene rearrangements have key roles in subsets of carcinomas and suggest that transcriptome sequencing could identify individuals with rare, targetable gene fusions.

Asangani IA, Ateeq B, Cao X, Chinnaiyan AM, Giordano TJ, Grasso CS, Iyer M, Jing X, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Kleer CG, Kumar-Sinha C, Lambros MB, Lonigro RJ, Maher CA, Mehra R, Natrajan R, Palanisamy N, Quist M, Reis-Filho JS, Robinson DR, Sabel MS, Shankar S, Siddiqui J, Wu YM


Nat. Med., 2011, 17 (12)