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The existence of mammary stem cells (MaSCs) has been postulated from evidence that the mammary gland can be regenerated by transplantation of epithelial fragments in mice. Interest in MaSCs has been further stimulated by their potential role in breast tumorigenesis. However, the identity and purification of MaSCs has proved elusive owing to the lack of(More)
Elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that maintain mammary epithelial tissue integrity is of broad interest and paramount to the design of more effective treatments for breast cancer. Evidence from both in vitro and in vivo experiments suggests that mammary cell differentiation is a hierarchical process originating in an uncommitted stem(More)
Basal-like breast cancers arising in women carrying mutations in the BRCA1 gene, encoding the tumor suppressor protein BRCA1, are thought to develop from the mammary stem cell. To explore early cellular changes that occur in BRCA1 mutation carriers, we have prospectively isolated distinct epithelial subpopulations from normal mammary tissue and(More)
Molecular characterization of the normal epithelial cell types that reside in the mammary gland is an important step toward understanding pathways that regulate self-renewal, lineage commitment, and differentiation along the hierarchy. Here we determined the gene expression signatures of four distinct subpopulations isolated from the mouse mammary gland.(More)
The recent identification of mouse mammary stem cells (MaSCs) and progenitor subpopulations has enhanced the prospect of investigating the genetic control of their lineage specification and differentiation. Here we have explored the role of the Notch pathway within the mammary epithelial hierarchy. We show that knockdown of the canonical Notch effector(More)
The estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), progesterone receptor (PR), and erbB2 (Her2 in humans) are important prognostic markers of human breast cancer, and they are variably expressed in different subtypes of breast cancer. The basal subtype, for example, is negative for ERalpha, PR, and Her2 by immunohistochemistry. We investigated the expression of these(More)
The ovarian hormones oestrogen and progesterone profoundly influence breast cancer risk, underpinning the benefit of endocrine therapies in the treatment of breast cancer. Modulation of their effects through ovarian ablation or chemoprevention strategies also significantly decreases breast cancer incidence. Conversely, there is an increased risk of breast(More)
MOTIVATION A gene set test is a differential expression analysis in which a P-value is assigned to a set of genes as a unit. Gene set tests are valuable for increasing statistical power, organizing and interpreting results and for relating expression patterns across different experiments. Existing methods are based on permutation. Methods that rely on(More)
The transcription factor Gata-3 is a definitive marker of luminal breast cancers and a key regulator of mammary morphogenesis. Here we have explored a role for Gata-3 in tumor initiation and the underlying cellular mechanisms using a mouse model of "luminal-like" cancer. Loss of a single Gata-3 allele markedly accelerated tumor progression in mice carrying(More)
The cells of origin and mechanisms that underpin tumor heterogeneity in breast cancer are poorly understood. Here, we have examined three mouse models of mammary tumorigenesis (MMTV-wnt-1, MMTV-neu, and p53(+/-)) for changes in their epithelial cell hierarchy during the preneoplastic and neoplastic stages of tumor progression. In preneoplastic tissue, only(More)