Both BRCA1 and Beclin 1 (BECN1) are tumor suppressor genes, which are in close proximity on the human chromosome 17q21 breast cancer tumor susceptibility locus and are often concurrently deleted. However, their importance in sporadic human breast cancer is not known. To interrogate the effects of BECN1 and BRCA1 in breast cancer, we studied their mRNA expression patterns in breast cancer patients from two large datasets: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (n. = 1067) and the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) (n. = 1992). In both datasets, low expression of BECN1 was more common in HER2-enriched and basal-like (mostly triple-negative) breast cancers compared to luminal A/B intrinsic tumor subtypes, and was also strongly associated with TP53 mutations and advanced tumor grade. In contrast, there was no significant association between low BRCA1 expression and HER2-enriched or basal-like subtypes, TP53 mutations or tumor grade. In addition, low expression of BECN1 (but not low BRCA1) was associated with poor prognosis, and BECN1 (but not BRCA1) expression was an independent predictor of survival. These findings suggest that decreased mRNA expression of the autophagy gene BECN1 may contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of HER2-enriched, basal-like, and TP53 mutant breast cancers.
- Breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)