On September 23, researchers published online in the journal Nature a study
of the molecular biology of breast cancer, using the intrinsic subtypes
as defined by the PAM50 gene signature as an organizing framework for
analyzing genomic and proteomic aberrations. This landmark study both
underscores the emergence of the intrinsic subtypes as a powerful
taxonomy of breast cancer in research, and PAM50's role as the gold
standard for categorizing breast cancer by subtype.
This study, titled Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast
tumours, represents the most complete description of breast cancer
biology to date. The study was an outcome of The Cancer Genome Atlas
(TCGA) Initiative, a comprehensive and coordinated effort to accelerate
our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the
application of genome analysis technologies. The study involved the
analysis of tissue from 800 breast cancer tumors by a total of six
technology platforms, covering genomics, epigenetics, and proteomics.
Intrinsic subtype by PAM50 was used as a primary organizing framework
for the analysis and presentation of the data. The research concluded
that diverse genetic and epigenetic alterations converge phenotypically
into the four main breast cancer subtypes defined by PAM50 - Luminal A,
Luminal B, HER2-enriched, and Basal-like.
NanoString Technologies, Inc., a privately held provider of life science
tools for translational research and developer of molecular diagnostics,
is developing a PAM50-based in vitro diagnostic test for breast
cancer. NanoString announced in December 2010 that it had secured an
exclusive worldwide license for the PAM50 gene signature from
Bioclassifier, LLC to develop in vitro diagnostic and research
products for breast cancer on its nCounter® Analysis System.
"This research advances our understanding of the molecular architecture
of breast cancer, and reinforces the emergence of intrinsic subtypes by
PAM50 as a powerful description of breast cancer biology," said
NanoString President & CEO Brad Gray. "We congratulate the authors on
this seminal contribution to our understanding of breast cancer, and
look forward to the day when analysis of breast cancer tumors by PAM50
will be available to patients worldwide."
The nCounter Analysis System is a fully automated, multi-application
digital detection and counting system with a very simple workflow
currently intended for research use only. The nCounter system has been
employed in basic and translational research since it was first
introduced in 2008. NanoString provides assays for gene expression,
miRNA analysis and copy number variation.
NanoString Technologies, Inc.