Digital Quantification of Gene Expression in Sequential Breast Cancer Biopsies Reveals Activation of an Immune Response

Rinath M. Jeselsohn, Lillian Werner, Meredith M. Regan, Aquila Fatima, Lauren Gilmore, Laura C. Collins, Andrew H. Beck, Shannon T. Bailey, Housheng Hansen He, Gilles Buchwalter, Myles Brown, J. Dirk Iglehart, Andrea Richardson, Steven E. Come

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Advancements in molecular biology have unveiled multiple breast cancer promoting pathways and potential therapeutic targets. Large randomized clinical trials remain the ultimate means of validating therapeutic efficacy, but they require large cohorts of patients and are lengthy and costly. A useful approach is to conduct a window of opportunity study in which patients are exposed to a drug pre-surgically during the interval between the core needle biopsy and the definitive surgery. These are non-therapeutic studies and the end point is not clinical or pathological response but rather evaluation of molecular changes in the tumor specimens that can predict response. However, since the end points of the non-therapeutic studies are biologic, it is critical to first define the biologic changes that occur in the absence of treatment. In this study, we compared the molecular profiles of breast cancer tumors at the time of the diagnostic biopsy versus the definitive surgery in the absence of any intervention using the Nanostring nCounter platform. We found that while the majority of the transcripts did not vary between the two biopsies, there was evidence of activation of immune related genes in response to the first biopsy and further investigations of the immune changes after a biopsy in early breast cancer seem warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64225
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 31 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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