Back to Journals » Biologics: Targets and Therapy » Volume 6

The molecular profile of luminal B breast cancer

Authors Creighton C

Received 15 June 2012

Accepted for publication 26 July 2012

Published 24 August 2012 Volume 2012:6 Pages 289—297


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Chad J Creighton

Department of Medicine and Dan L Duncan Cancer Center Division of Biostatistics. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

Abstract: Molecular profiling studies have found that estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) human breast cancers are comprised of at least two distinct diseases with differing biologies. With the advent of DNA microarrays, global gene expression patterns were used to define the luminal A and luminal B subtypes of ER+ breast cancer, with luminal B cancers showing a more aggressive phenotype including substantially worse outcomes in patients. The luminal B subtype designation could be considered a surrogate for those ER+ tumors having low progesterone receptors, high proliferation, high grade, and predicted poor response to hormone therapy. While they express estrogen receptors, luminal B cancers do not show a corresponding expression of estrogen-regulated genes, and may therefore rely upon alternative pathways for growth. At the molecular level, luminal B cancers appear dramatically distinct from luminal A cancers, at the levels of gene expression, gene copy, somatic mutation, and DNA methylation; luminal B cancers are also genetically and genomically altered to a greater extent than luminal A cancers. While, in the clinical setting, luminal B is typically regarded as an ER+, hormone-sensitive disease, more research is needed into how to better treat it. Comprehensive profiling initiatives, such as The Cancer Genome Atlas, have recently provided us a catalog of mutated or copy altered genes, from which new therapeutic targets could potentially be mined. Candidate pathways that might be targeted in luminal B include those involving growth factor receptors, including HER2 and EGFR, as well as PI3K/Akt/mTor.

Keywords: luminal B, molecular profiling, integrative analysis, breast cancer, TCGA

Creative Commons License © 2012 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.