Metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) is a highly aggressive form of triple-negative cancer (TNBC), defined by the presence of metaplastic components of spindle, squamous, or sarcomatoid histology. The protein profiles underpinning the pathological subtypes and metastatic behavior of MBC are unknown. Using multiplex quantitative tandem mass tag-based proteomics we quantify 5798 proteins in MBC, TNBC, and normal breast from 27 patients. Comparing MBC and TNBC protein profiles we show MBC-specific increases related to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and extracellular matrix, and reduced metabolic pathways. MBC subtypes exhibit distinct upregulated profiles, including translation and ribosomal events in spindle, inflammation- and apical junction-related proteins in squamous, and extracellular matrix proteins in sarcomatoid subtypes. Comparison of the proteomes of human spindle MBC with mouse spindle (CCN6 knockout) MBC tumors reveals a shared spindle-specific signature of 17 upregulated proteins involved in translation and 19 downregulated proteins with roles in cell metabolism. These data identify potential subtype specific MBC biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
Recommended citation: Djomehri SI, Gonzalez ME, da Veiga Leprevost F, et al. Quantitative proteomic landscape of metaplastic breast carcinoma pathological subtypes and their relationship to triple-negative tumors. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):1723. Published 2020 Apr 7. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-15283-z