Gene Expression Signature in Organized and Growth-Arrested Mammary Acini Predicts Good Outcome in Breast Cancer
Nonmalignant human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) seeded in laminin-rich extracellular matrix (lrECM) form polarized acini and, in doing so, transit from a disorganized proliferating state to an organized growth-arrested state. We hypothesized that the gene expression pattern of organized and growth-arrested HMECs would share similarities with breast tumors with good prognoses. We show that genes that are significantly lower in the organized, growth-arrested HMEC than in their proliferating counterparts can be used to classify breast cancer patients into poor and good prognosis groups with high accuracy. This study represents a novel unsupervised approach to identifying breast cancer markers that may be of use clinically.