A novel age-related gene expression signature associates with proliferation and disease progression in breast cancer
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataVis full innførsel
OriginalversjonBritish Journal of Cancer. 2022. 10.1038/s41416-022-01953-w
Background and objective Breast cancer (BC) diagnosed at ages <40 years presents with more aggressive tumour phenotypes and poorer clinical outcome compared to older BC patients. Here, we explored transcriptional BC alterations to gain a better understanding of age-related tumour biology, also subtype-stratified. Methods We studied publicly available global BC mRNA expression (n = 3999) and proteomics data (n = 113), exploring differentially expressed genes, enriched gene sets, and gene networks in the young compared to older patients. Results We identified transcriptional patterns reflecting increased proliferation and oncogenic signalling in BC of the young, also in subtype-stratified analyses. Six up-regulated hub genes built a novel age-related score, significantly associated with aggressive clinicopathologic features. A high 6 Gene Proliferation Score (6GPS) demonstrated independent prognostic value when adjusted for traditional clinicopathologic variables and the molecular subtypes. The 6GPS significantly associated also with disease-specific survival within the luminal, lymph node-negative and Oncotype Dx intermediate subset. Conclusions We here demonstrate evidence of higher tumour cell proliferation in young BC patients, also when adjusting for molecular subtypes, and identified a novel age-based six-gene signature pointing to aggressive tumour features, tumour proliferation, and reduced survival—also in patient subsets with expected good prognosis.