Purpose: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease usually including four molecular subtypes such as luminal A, luminal B, HER2-enriched, and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC is more aggressive than other breast cancer subtypes. Despite major advances in ER-positive or HER2-amplified breast cancer, there is no targeted agent currently available for TNBC, so it is urgent to identify new potential therapeutic targets for TNBC. Methods: We first used microarray analysis to compare gene expression profiling between TNBC and non-TNBC. Furthermore an integrated analysis was conducted based on our own and published data, leading to more robust, reproducible and accurate predictions. Additionally, we performed qRT-PCR in breast cancer cell lines to verify the findings in integrated analysis. Results: After searching Gene Expression Omnibus database (GEO), two microarray studies were obtained according to the inclusion criteria. The integrated analysis was conducted, including 30 samples of TNBC and 77 samples of non-TNBC. 556 genes were found to be consistently differentially expressed (344 up-regulated genes and 212 down-regulated genes in TNBC). Functional annotation for these differentially expressed genes (DEGs) showed that the most significantly enriched Gene Ontology (GO) term for molecular functions was protein binding (GO: 0005515, P = 6.09E-21), while that for biological processes was signal transduction (GO: 0007165, P = 9.46E-08), and that for cellular component was cytoplasm (GO: 0005737, P = 2.09E-21). The most significant pathway was Pathways in cancer (P = 6.54E-05) based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). DUSP1 (Degree = 21), MYEOV2 (Degree = 15) and UQCRQ (Degree = 14) were identified as the significant hub proteins in the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. Five genes were selected to perform qRT-PCR in seven breast cancer cell lines, and qRT-PCR results showed that the expression pattern of selected genes in TNBC lines and non-TNBC lines was nearly consistent with that in the integrated analysis. Conclusion: This study may help to understand the pathogenesis of different breast cancer subtypes, contributing to the successful identification of therapeutic targets for TNBC.
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© 2015 He et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.