It is widely believed that discovery of specific, sensitive, and reliable tumor biomarkers can improve the treatment of cancer. Currently, there are no obvious targets that can be used in treating triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
To better understand TNBC and find potential biomarkers for targeted treatment, we combined a novel hydrophobic fractionation protocol with mass spectrometry LTQ-orbitrap to explore and compare the hydrophobic sub-proteome of TNBC with another subtype of breast cancer, hormone-receptor-positive-Her2-negative breast cancer (non-TNBC).
Hydrophobic sub-proteome of breast cancer is rich in membrane proteins. Hundreds of proteins with various defined key cellular functions were identified from TNBC and non-TNBC tumors. In this study, protein profiles of TNBC and non-TNBC were systematically examined, compared, and validated. We have found that nine keratins are down-regulated and several heat shock proteins are up-regulated in TNBC tissues. Our study may provide insights of molecules that are responsible for the aggressiveness of TNBC.
The initial results obtained using a combination of hydrophobic fractionation and nano-LC mass spectrometry analysis of these proteins appear promising in the discovery of potential cancer biomarkers and bio-signatures. When sufficiently refined, this approach may prove useful in improving breast cancer treatment.