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BMC Cancer


Breast cancer is a complex disease exhibiting a great degree of heterogeneity due to different molecular subtypes. Notch signaling regulates the differentiation of breast epithelial cells during normal development and plays a crucial role in breast cancer progression through the abnormal expression of the Notch up-and down-stream effectors. To date, there are only a few patient-centered clinical studies using datasets characterizing the role of Notch signaling pathway regulators in breast cancer; thus, we investigate the role and functionality of these factors in different subtypes using publicly available databases containing records from large studies. High-throughput genomic data and clinical information extracted from TCGA were analyzed. We performed Kaplan–Meier survival and differential gene expression analyses using the HALLMARK_NOTCH_SIGNALING gene set. To determine if epigenetic regulation of the Notch regulators contributes to their expression, we analyzed methylation levels of these factors using the TCGA HumanMethylation450 Array data. Notch receptors and ligands expression is generally associated with the tumor subtype, grade, and stage. Furthermore, we showed gene expression levels of most Notch factors were associated with DNA methylation rate. Modulating the expression levels of Notch receptors and effectors can be a potential therapeutic approach for breast cancer. As we outline herein, elucidating the novel prognostic and regulatory roles of Notch implicate this pathway as an essential mediator controlling breast cancer progression.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Oncology Commons