Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(3):353-362. doi:10.7150/ijbs.3157

Research Paper

Comparison of Protein Expression Profiles of Different Stages of Lymph Nodes Metastasis in Breast Cancer

Hui-Hua Lee1, Chu-Ai Lim1, Yew-Teik Cheong2, Manjit Singh2, Lay-Harn Gam1 ✉

1. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, USM, Penang, Malaysia;
2. Department of Surgery, Penang General Hospital, Penang, Malaysia.

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Lee HH, Lim CA, Cheong YT, Singh M, Gam LH. Comparison of Protein Expression Profiles of Different Stages of Lymph Nodes Metastasis in Breast Cancer. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(3):353-362. doi:10.7150/ijbs.3157. Available from

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Breast cancer metastasis primarily happens through lymphatic system, where the extent of lymph node metastasis is the major factor influencing staging, prognosis and therapeutic decision of the disease. We aimed to study the protein expression changes in different N (regional lymph nodes) stages of breast cancer. Protein expression profiles of breast cancerous and adjacent normal tissues were mapped by proteomics approach that comprises of two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. Calreticulin and tropomyosin alpha 3 chains were the common up-regulated proteins in N0, N1 and N2 stages of breast cancer. Potential biomarker for each N stage was HSP 70 for N0, 80 k protein H precursor and PDI for N1 stage while 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein was found useful for N2 stage. In addition, significant up-regulation of PDI A3 was detected only in the metastasized breast cancer. The up-regulation expression of these proteins in cancerous tissues can potentially use as indicators for diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of different N stages of breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer, lymph nodes, proteomic, 2D-PAGE, LC-MS/MS.