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Ductal keratin 15+ luminal progenitors in normal breast exhibit a basal-like breast cancer transcriptomic signature

Normal breast luminal epithelial progenitors have been implicated as cell of origin in basal-like breast cancer, but their anatomical localization remains understudied. Here, we combine micro-collection of uncultured organoids and single cell mRNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of FACS-sorted luminal epithelial cells with multicolor imaging to profile ducts and terminal ductal lobular units (TDLUs) and compare them with breast cancer subtypes. Unsupervised clustering reveals eleven distinct clusters and a differentiation trajectory starting with keratin 15+ (K15+) progenitors enriched in ducts. Spatial mapping of luminal progenitors is confirmed at the protein level by staining with critical duct markers. Comparison of the gene expression profiles of normal luminal cells with those of breast cancer subtypes reveals a strong correlation between normal breast K15+ ductal progenitors and basal-like breast cancer. We propose that K15+ basal-like breast cancers originate in ductal progenitors, which emphasizes the importance of not only lineages but also cellular position within the ductal-lobular tree.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001008499 NextSeq 550 6
Publications Citations
Ductal keratin 15<sup>+</sup> luminal progenitors in normal breast exhibit a basal-like breast cancer transcriptomic signature.
NPJ Breast Cancer 8: 2022 81
2