Background Metastatic progression of breast cancer is still a challenge in clinical oncology. Therefore, an elucidation how carcinoma cells belonging to different breast cancer subtypes realize their metastatic capacities is needed. The aim of this study was to elucidate a similarity of activated molecular pathways underlying an enhancement of invasiveness of carcinoma cells belonging to different breast carcinoma subtypes. Materials and methods In order to reach this aim, parental and invasive (INV) MDA-MB-231 (triple-negative), T47D (hormone receptor-positive), and Au565 (Her2-positive) breast carcinoma cells were used and their molecular phenotypes were compared using a proteomic approach. Results Independently from breast cancer subtypes, INV cells have demonstrated fibroblast-like morphology accompanied by enhancement of invasive and migratory capacities, increased expression of cancer stem cell markers, and delayed tumor growth in in vivo animal models. However, the global proteomic analysis has highlighted that INV cells were different in protein expressions from the parental cells, and Her2-positive Au565-INV cells showed the most pronounced molecular differences compared to the triple-negative MDA-MB-231-INV and hormone receptor-positive T47D-INV cells. Although Au565-INV breast carcinoma cells possessed the highest number of deregulated proteins, they had the lowest overlapping in proteins commonly expressed in MDA-MB-231-INV and T47D-INV cells. Conclusions We can conclude that hormone receptor-positive cells with increased invasiveness acquire the molecular characteristics of triple-negative breast cancer cells, whereas Her2-positive INV cells specifically changed their own molecular phenotype with very limited partaking in the involved pathways found in the MDA-MB-231-INV and T47D-INV cells. Since hormone receptor-positive invasive cells share their molecular properties with triple-negative breast cancer cells, we assume that these types of metastatic disease can be treated rather equally with an option to add anti-hormonal agents. In contrast, Her2-positive metastasis should be carefully evaluated for more effective therapeutic approaches which are distinct from the triple-negative and hormone-positive metastatic breast cancers.
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