BRCA1 Promoter Methylation and Expression - Associations with ER+, PR+ and HER2+ Subtypes of Breast Carcinoma

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Pathology, University Of Delhi, Delhi, India.

2 Division of Molecular Oncology, National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (ICMR), I-7 Sector 39, Noida, Utter Pradesh, India.

3 Department of Surgery UCMS and GTB Hospital, University Of Delhi, Delhi, India.

4 Division of Molecular Cytology, National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (ICMR), I-7 Sector 39, Noida, Utter Pradesh, India.


Introduction: Considering the increasing trend in incidence rates, morbidity and mortality of breast cancer, there is an urgent need to identify and validate new biomarkers for early detection and better management. The purpose of the study was to investigate BRCA1 protein expression and promoter methylation of the BRCA1 gene and their association with molecular subtypes based on estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positivity. Materials and Methods: A total of 114 breast cancer tissue biopsies were collected for methylation specific PCR (MSP) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. Results: Seven tissue microarrays were constructed. BRCA1 protein expression was reduced in 55/114 (48.2%) and in the majority of ER-negative tumors (73.3%) (p<0.001). Similarly BRCA1 expression was reduced in the majority of PR-negative tumors (69.2%) but without statistical significance (p value=0.083). BRCA1 methylation was positive in 59.6% cases. A subset regarding ER+, PR+ and HER2+ was identified which consisted of 31.6% in which an inverse relationship between BRCA1 methylation and protein expression was noted. Conclusion: Reduced expression was associated with ER and PR negative status which is linked with a poor prognosis. BRCA1 protein expression might thus be used as a prognostic indicator to predict treatment response to hormone therapy.


Main Subjects

Volume 18, Issue 12
December 2017
Pages 3293-3299
  • Receive Date: 07 July 2017
  • Revise Date: 03 October 2017
  • Accept Date: 12 November 2017
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2017