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Background: Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs), a family of genes with key roles in proteostasis, have been extensively associated with cancer behaviour. However, the HSP family is quite large and many of its members have not been investigated in breast cancer (BRCA), particularly in relation with the current molecular BRCA classification. In this work, we performed a comprehensive transcriptomic study of the HSP gene family in BRCA patients from both The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) cohorts discriminating the BRCA intrinsic molecular subtypes. Methods: We examined gene expression levels of 1097 BRCA tissue samples retrieved from TCGA and 1981 samples of METABRIC, focusing mainly on the HSP family (95 genes). Data were stratified according to the PAM50 gene expression (Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2, Basal, and Normal-like). Transcriptomic analyses include several statistical approaches: differential gene expression, hierarchical clustering and survival analysis. Results: Of the 20,531 analysed genes we found that in BRCA almost 30% presented deregulated expression (19% upregulated and 10% downregulated), while of the HSP family 25% appeared deregulated (14% upregulated and 11% downregulated) (|fold change| > 2 comparing BRCA with normal breast tissues). The study revealed the existence of shared HSP genes deregulated in all subtypes of BRCA while other HSPs were deregulated in specific subtypes. Many members of the Chaperonin subfamily were found upregulated while three members (BBS10, BBS12 and CCTB6) were found downregulated. HSPC subfamily had moderate increments of transcripts levels. Various genes of the HSP70 subfamily were upregulated; meanwhile, HSPA12A and HSPA12B appeared strongly downregulated. The strongest downregulation was observed in several HSPB members except for HSPB1. DNAJ members showed heterogeneous expression pattern. We found that 23 HSP genes correlated with overall survival and three HSP-based transcriptional profiles with impact on disease outcome were recognized. Conclusions: We identified shared and specific HSP genes deregulated in BRCA subtypes. This study allowed the recognition of HSP genes not previously associated with BRCA and/or any cancer type, and the identification of three clinically relevant clusters based on HSPs expression patterns with influence on overall survival. Keywords: Breast cancer, Heat shock proteins, Differential gene expression, Molecular subtypes, Survival, HSP-Clusts * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Felipe C. M. Zoppino and Martin E. Guerrero-Gimenez contributed equally to this work. Laboratory of Oncology, Institute of Medicine and Experimental Biology of Cuyo (IMBECU), National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Av. Dr. Ruiz Leal s/n, Parque General San Martín, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated. Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 2 of 17 Background apoptosis emphasize the importance for a thorough and In worldwide terms, breast cancer (BRCA) has the sec- comprehensive study of all members of these genes. The ond annual incidence (1,670,000 cases) and the fifth purpose of this study is the analysis and integration of mortality rate (522,000 deaths associated) of overall can- clinical and transcriptomic (RNAseq) data of BRCA cers . Classifications of BRCA have been performed tumour samples from TCGA and METABRIC databases according to clinical features, histological characteristics, with emphasis on HSP genes in the five BRCA mo- and presence of steroid and/or growth factor receptors. lecular subtypes. We hypothesize that the results of PAM50 gene expression assay allows the molecular clas- this investigation will generate relevant knowledge of sification of BRCA based on the expression levels of fifty the HSPs expression landscape, useful in the genomic genes and sorts BRCA into five intrinsic subtypes: and clinical characterization of BRCA. Luminal A, Luminal B, HER2-enriched (HER2), Basal-like (Basal) and Normal-like (Normal). This classification Methods highly correlates with BRCA biological behaviour and has Data analyses clinical use due to its prognostic significance [2, 3]. Heat Two independent datasets were used in this study: 1) Shock Proteins (HSPs) are ubiquitous in living organisms The “TCGA assembler” v.1.0.3  package was used to and their expression is rapidly regulated by stress. Histor- programmatically download, from the publicly available ically they were recognized as proteins induced by heat, al- TCGA (http://cancergenome.nih.gov/) dataset of mam- though it is now known that various types of physiological mary adenocarcinoma, level 3 standardized (normalized) and/or pathological stresses regulate their expression . and non-standardized (raw counts) mRNA gene expres- HSP systems are involved in protein quality control , sion levels from 1097 tumour samples and 114 normal degradation pathways (ubiquitin-proteasome system, tissue samples measured using the RNA-Seq technology endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation, autoph- (RNASeqV2) (May 1, 2015). Available clinical informa- agy), and regulation of apoptosis [5, 6]. The HSPs belong tion corresponding to 1085 patients was obtained using to a family of evolutionarily conserved genes that includes the same package and updated with the latest follow-up 95 genes divided into five subfamilies: 1) type I chapero- available. Samples were obtained from patients with ini- nins (HSP10 and HSP60), BBs chaperonins, and type II tial diagnosis of invasive breast adenocarcinoma under- chaperonins (CCT genes) which are grouped under the going surgical resection and that had no prior treatment Chaperonin subfamily (CHAP); 2) HSP70 (HSPA) and for their diseases. Samples were collected between 1988 large HSP 100–110 kDa (which are all included in the and 2013, disregarding gender, race, histological type, HSP70 family); 3) small HSP 12–43 kDa (HSPB); 4) disease stage or other co-morbidities (Additional file 1: HSP90 (HSPC); and 5) HSP40 (DNAJ) . The HSPs re- Table S1). The tumour sections analysed were required to lated systems can be disturbed during oncogenesis allow- contain an average of 60% tumour cell nuclei with less ing malignant transformation and/or facilitating rapid than 20% necrosis under TCGA protocol standards. The somatic evolution; they have been studied in a wide variety treatments of patients varied according to the standard of of cancers, presenting different pro-tumour (stimulating treatment at time of diagnosis and with the inclusion of tumour growth and metastasis) or anti-tumour ac- patients under clinical trial protocols. For further informa- tions [4, 8]. Currently, HSPs are emerging as molecular tion about biospecimen collection, processing, quality targets in cancer therapy through the interference of their control and biomarker assessment, please refer to orto diversity of functions in cancer cells by different ap- TCGA website (http://cancergenome.nih.gov). 2) To valid- proaches. In fact, there are clinical trials for various can- ate the HSP clusters detected in the TCGA dataset, the cers, including BRCA, using HSP-inhibitor compounds clinical information and the normalized gene expression and other HSP-based strategies [9–11]. The information levels of 1981 tumours from patients with breast cancer gathered from diverse studies regarding the role of the were acquired from the METABRIC cohort. . The HSPs in different situations associated with cancer fre- METABRIC database analyses 49,576 transcripts with Illu- quently provides contradictory overviews. HSP genes (and mina HT 12 microarray technology and reports patient encoded proteins) corresponding to HSPA1A/B, HSPB1, overall survival and disease-specific survival. These data DNAJB1 and HSP90AA1 are the most studied; these have were accessed through Synapse (synapse.sagebase.org,ID: been tested in various models (cell culture, biopsies, etc.), syn1757063, syn1757053 and syn1757055). nevertheless in the context of BRCA many others HSPs The analysis workflow is summarized in Additional file 2. have not been studied yet. Currently, we have not found All analyses and graphs were performed using R software specific studies of the complete HSP gene family in BRCA environment unless otherwise specified. This study has integrating the multi-omics platforms available. The par- been approved by the Bioethical Committee of the ticipation and implications of HSPs involved in different Medical School of the National University of Cuyo, pathways controlling cell growth, differentiation and Mendoza, Argentina (0029963/2015). Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 3 of 17 Intrinsic subtype classification analysis  (mean difference between methods of 0.02 The expression levels of the PAM50 panel genes from and 97.37% of the measurements within the 95% confi- each of the 1097 samples from TCGA were used to carry dence interval), which evidence high agreement between out the intrinsic subtype classification of tumours  both techniques (Additional file 6). We detected a dis- which was performed using the “Bioclassifier” package, agreement between both methods in at least one BRCA kindly given by Dr. K. Hoadley of the University of subtype in six genes (CRYAA, DNAJB13, DNAJC5G, North Carolina Chapel Hill and available online. To per- HSPA6, HSPB3 and ODF1), all of which presented low form this task, the normalized expression profile (nor- expression levels. EdgeR runs with least computational re- malized RNA_SeqV2 RSEM) of the 50 specific genes sources than DESeq2, this motivated its preferential use. was used. Many of these genes are strongly related to EdgeR ANOVA-like test was used to analyse differential BRCA behaviour and include ESR1, ERBB2, PGR, and gene expression within PAM50 subtypes and MKI67 among others. To normalize the expression HSP-Clusters (Additional file 7). values from each gene the log expression levels were obtained and subsequently the median expression value Heatmap construction and cluster analysis of a subset of samples (50% oestrogen receptor positive The values of logarithm base 2 of normalized RSEM and 50% oestrogen receptor negative population defined (RNAseq) plus 1 from 1033 patients (males, Normal-like by immunohistochemistry) was subtracted. Once the tumours, and patients without clinical data were ex- samples were classified, principal component analysis, cluded) from the TCGA cohort were used to construct class to centroid correlation, and hierarchical cluster the HSPs expression matrix. The rows and columns evaluations were performed to assess the quality and val- were sorted based on a hierarchical cluster with average idity of the classification (Additional files 3 and 4). We linkage and Pearson’s correlation distance. According to found 89 and 100% concordances with previously re- Silhouette dendrograms analysis (Additional file 8) pa- ported classifications by Koboldt  and Ciriello  tients were grouped into three clusters: HSP-Clust I, respectively (Additional file 1: Table S5). From the HSP-Clust II and HSP-Clust III. total samples analysed from the TCGA cohort, we found few cases of the Normal-like subtype (only 3.6%), 51.5% Survival model were Luminal A, 20% were Luminal B, 17% were Basal, The survivals analysis was performed according to and 7.5% were HER2, which are in agreement with other REMARK guidelines . The effect of each HSP on studies [15, 16]. All 1981 METABRIC patients were classi- survival was estimated using a univariate Cox propor- fied according to the PAM50 classification as described tional hazard model with the survival information of the above and Normal-like patients were excluded from fur- 1033 patients of the TCGA cohort considered in the ther consideration. heatmap graphic and cluster analysis. To correct for multiple testing FDR testing was conducted by Differential gene expression of TCGA samples Benjamini and Hochberg method. Once each patient of To evaluate differentially expressed genes (DEG) two dif- the TCGA and the METABRIC training and test set ferent statistical packages, DESeq2  and EdgeR , were classified into one of the three HSP clusters, were chosen due to their demonstrated good perform- Kaplan-Meier curves for each group were generated and ance . In this study, we used raw count expression of the survival distribution was compared using Log-Rank 20,531 genes from 1211 tissue samples. We grouped test. A multivariate Cox proportional hazard model was samples according to the subtypes assigned, and then used to determine statistically significant survival differ- each group was compared against normal tissue expres- ence between clusters of TCGA cohort. The model was sion profiles using the standard workflow as presented adjusted to several known prognostic predictors (inclu- in: https://www.bioconductor.org/packages/3.3/bioc/vi- sion criteria): lymph node status, tumour size, age, gnettes/DESeq2/inst/doc/DESeq2.pdf and https://bio- tumour stage, and PAM50 subtypes. As exclusion cri- conductor.org/packages/release/bioc/vignettes/edgeR/ teria we considered: males, patients with unknown meta- inst/doc/edgeRUsersGuide.pdf. In both cases log fold static status at the time of diagnosis, and Normal-like change values were obtained associated with P values subtypes. From this filtering 1003 patients were left, with and False Discovery Rate values (FDR, a modified P 81 events registered. The sample size was not considered value to correct the eventually false positives) by Benja- a priori and all available patient data within inclusion mini and Hochberg method . Results from DESeq2 criteria were considered. and EdgeR are summarized in Additional file 5.The consistency between both methods was compared by Nearest centroid classifier Pearson’s correlation coefficient (mean correlation be- To train a HSP single-sample-predictor with the METABRIC tween methods 0.948 ± 0.01 SD) and Bland Altman dataset, samples gene expression levels were scaled Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 4 of 17 and only probes that were associated with the 95 (Additional file 1: Table S3). Deregulation of HSP genes HSPs where used in the classifier. In cases where increased in BRCA subtypes as follows: Luminal A, there was more than one probe matching a single Luminal B, HER2 and Basal. To achieve a better statistical gene, all probes values were averaged and collapse interpretation volcano plots were used (Fig. 2). These into one. From the 95 HSP genes, HSPA7 did not graphs allow the contextualization of the HSP genes re- match to any of the probes analysed and those HSP spect to the rest of the genes letting a complete appreci- genes that presented low expression levels in the ation of gene expression changes that were modulated TCGA cohort (DNAJB8, DNAJC5G, DNAJB3, ODF1, differentially in the entire cohort (Fig. 2 tumour total) and CRYAA and HSPB3) were not considered to train the between the intrinsic BRCA subtypes (Fig. 2). The patients classifier. The dataset was randomly divided into a were subdivided according to the PAM50 classification to training set (n = 915) and a test set (n = 914), then a investigate whether the intrinsic subtypes of BRCA mani- hierarchical clustering algorithm with average linkage fested different expression of HSP genes. The PAM50 and Pearson’s correlation distance was applied to the classification is a “single sample predictor” and classifies training dataset and the resulting dendrogram tree each of the samples in 5 tumour intrinsic subtypes . was cut to divide the set of patients into three differ- From a total of 1097 samples 566 were classified as ent HSPs expression profile groups. From each clus- Luminal A, 217 as Luminal B, 82 as HER2-enriched, ter, the corresponding centroid vector was calculated 192 corresponded to Basal and 40 were Normal-like and the samples in the test set were labelled accord- (Additional file 1:Table S4). The comparisonofthe ing to the class centroid from which each sample pre- correlative immunohistochemical characteristics of each sented highest Spearman correlation. tumour was included; these results appeared congruent with the molecular classification (Additional file 1: Results Table S4). In the case of upregulated HSP genes, the log Transcriptomic analysis evaluating the RNA expression fold-change mean and standard deviations (SD) in the dif- profile in TCGA BRCA cohort ferent subtypes ranged between 1.38 and 1.64 and 0.31 to We first evaluated the absolute normalized expression 0.69 respectively; the downregulated genes showed log levels of the 95 HSP genes. The overall trend indicates fold-change mean in the range of 2.34 to 3.62 and were that HSPs were highly expressed in tumour samples more dispersed (SD = 1.36 to 2.26) compared to upregu- − 10 (one-sided Mann-Whitney U test P val = 1.256e ), lated genes. Surprisingly we found that several HSPs were nevertheless, a more detailed study showed a group of within the first hundred genes with the lowest FDR values six genes (DNAJB8, DNAJC5G, DNAJB3, ODF1, in Luminal A and Luminal B, which points out that some CRYAA, and HSPB3) with very low expression levels in HSPs DEG in BRCA shows remarkable steady differences almost all the samples and was not detected in at least between normal and tumour samples. 50% of the cohort or more. On the other hand, six HSPs After exploring HSPs expression changes, we found (HSP90AB1, HSP90AA1, HSPA8, HSP90B1, HSPA5, and many deregulated HSP genes, some of which were spe- HSPA1A) were ranked in the top 100 most expressed cific for certain molecular subtypes while others were − 07 mRNAs of BRCA (hypergeometric test P val = 4.09 ). shared by different intrinsic subtypes (Fig. 3). In particu- (Fig. 1 and Additional file 1: Table S2). The rest of the lar, this analysis revealed that 38 of the 95 HSP genes HSPs were distributed in a wide range of expression. Al- were found differentially expressed. In the case of most all members of the Chaperonin subfamily (TCP1, downregulated genes, a group (DNAJB4, DNAJC18, CCT2, CCT3, CCT4, CCT5, CCT6A, CCT7, and CCT8) HSPA12A, HSPA12B, HSPB2, HSPB6 and HSPB7) pre- were also expressed at similarly high levels. It is import- sented decreased transcript levels in all BRCA molecular ant to note that the HSPB subfamily, except HSPB1, ap- subtypes while some HSPs showed subtype specific peared with low transcript expression levels. downregulation (DNAJC27 and DNAJC12 in Basal and We continued the analysis evaluating DEG comparing BBS12 and DNAJC5G in HER2). Others HSPs presented BRCA tissues against normal tissues. In this study we decreased levels of transcripts shared between different considered only genes that showed absolute values of subtypes (HSPB8 between HER2 and Basal and CRYAB log fold change (log FC) > 1 and statistical significance and SACS between HER2, Luminal A and Luminal B tu- 2 2 (FDR < 0.05). The tabulated results (Additional file 5) mours). Evaluating the upregulated genes, we found a show that in BRCA there were 3994 upregulated and more complex combination where only DNAJC5B was 2155 downregulated genes. To our knowledge, this is upregulated in all subtypes. HSPB1, DNAJB13, DNAJC1 the first report of the DEG between tumours and normal and DNAJC22 were upregulated in all except in the tissues taking into account PAM50 groups of RNAseq Basal subtype. The Basal subtype showed the highest BRCA data (1097 patients). With respect to HSP number of specific upregulated genes (DNAJC2, genes, 13 were upregulated and 11 were downregulated DNAJC6, HSPA5, HSPA14 and CRYAA), DNAJA3 and Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 5 of 17 ab Fig. 1 HSPs expression in breast cancer. a) The mean expression of each gene in all cancer samples was calculated and sorted in decreasing order. HSP genes were localized with a red x. Note that six HSP genes are above the orange line of the top 100 expressed genes. b) The graphs show the RNA expression distribution of HSP genes in the cohort. Note that figure is thicker were the values are more frequent CCT2 were upregulated in Luminal B, and DNAJB3 was was upregulated only in Basal subtype and ODF1 only upregulated in HER2 tumours. Luminal A did not showed an increased expression in Luminal A tumours have any specific upregulated HSP. that was not significant by the Deseq2 method. Interest- ingly, the genes CRYAB, HSPB2, HSPB6 and HSPB7 Fold change expression values of the different HSP were strongly downregulated in all BRCA subtypes. The subfamily HSPC subfamily involves HSP90 genes with well-known We next proceeded to compare the magnitude the HSPs clinical implications in cancer . HSPC members DEG pattern in the BRCA tissues arranging the HSPs in showed mild positive fold changes in all BRCA subtypes. their five subfamilies. Figure 4 shows that the CHAP It is of interest to mention that several HSP genes have subfamily (14 members) appeared upregulated in BRCA relatively high expression levels in normal tissues, with only three members (BBS10, BBS12 and in a lesser therefore in these cases fold changes in expression degree CCT6B) downregulated. In this figure we can levels between normal and cancer tissues are less pro- also see that most of the HSP70 subfamily members nounced but could be of important biological signifi- were upregulated while only two members (HSPA12A cance. (e.g. HSP90AA1 have a fold change of 0.98). and HSPA12B) were strongly downregulated. HSPA4L The large DNAJ subfamily revealed a mixed behav- showed a particular profile, its expression decreased in iour, some members (DNAJA2, DNAJB1, DNAJB8, HER2 and Luminal A cancers only. The study of the DNAJB9, DNAJC8, DNAJC25) showed null variations, HSPB subfamily showed interesting characteristics. others were upregulated (DNAJA1, DNAJA3, DNAJA4, Incremented transcripts levels of HSPB1, HSPB9 and DNAJB2, DNAJB11, DNAJC1, DNAJC2, DNAJC5, HSPB11 were observed in most BRCA subtypes, CRYAA DNAJC5B, DNAJC9, DNAJC10 and GAK) and some were Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 6 of 17 Fig. 2 Differential expression of total genes in breast cancer. Volcano plots of genes expression analysis accomplished by Edge R method. In the x-axis the log fold change respect to normal tissue is represented, while in y-axis the -log of FDR is shown (the higher values show smaller FDR). 2 10 Observe that HSP genes with log fold change > 1 and FDR < 0.05 are indicated as red circles. The green symbols at the top of the subpanels indicate − 324 genes with very small FDR (FDR < 5e ). Significant fold changes of non-HSP genes are light blue coloured downregulated (DNAJB4, DNAJC18, DNAJC27, DNAJC28 subtypes which reveals that a complex regulation is and SACS) in all subtypes. Several interesting expression active on every HSP subfamily, even for members of profiles of DNAJ members need to be especially mentioned. thesamegroup. For example, DNAJC12 appeared strongly upregulated in Beyond particular cases, less marked but important Luminal A and B, in contrast to the Basal subtype where differences were found in the overall expression patterns this gene appeared downregulated. DNAJB3 transcripts ap- of HSP gene families between subtypes. Primarily, HSPH peared strongly upregulated in the HER2 BRCA subtype (from the HSP70 superfamily), HSP90 (HSPC), and type and DNAJC22 appeared upregulated in Luminal A, I and type II chaperonins (from the CHAP family) were Luminal B and HER2 subtypes. A summary of the HSP found expressed at higher levels in Luminal B, HER2 subfamilies fold change trends across PAM50 classes is and Basal tumours than in Luminal A subtypes, while depicted in Additional file 9 to grasp a better understanding for the HSPB family, Basal tumours showed an overall of the HSP groups changes and variability in the different less marked decrease of these group of genes with Luminal A Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 7 of 17 observed 23 HSP genes with clinical statistical signifi- HER2 cance from which five genes were associated with a good prognosis (HSPA2, DNAJB5, HSCB, HSPA12B and DNAJC5G DNAJC4) and 18 (CCT6A, DNAJA2, HSPA14, CCT7, BBS12 HSPD1, CCT2, HSPA4, DNAJC6, CCT5, SEC63, HSPH1, Basal CCT8, CCT4, HSP90AA1, HSPA8, DNAJC13, HSPA9 HSPB8 and TCP1) with a poor prognosis (Table 1). CRYAB SACS DNAJB4 Next, we explored whether the BRCA patients could be DNAJC18 DNAJC12 grouped into clinically relevant clusters based on HSPs ex- HSPA12A DNAJC27 HSPA12B pression patterns. To test this hypothesis we performed HSPB2 an unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis that sepa- HSPB6 HSPB7 rated the TCGA cohort into three main branches (Fig. 5). The three groups were called HSP-Clust I (red in Fig. 5), Luminal B HSP-Clust II (green) and HSP-Clust III (orange). These three HSP clusters corresponded to PAM50 classification Luminal A Basal as follows: the HSP-Clust I had 83% of Luminal A tu- mours, HSP-Clust II was composed mainly by Basal-like HSPA5 tumours (92%), and the HSP-Clust III was the most het- HSPA14 HSPA6 erogeneous group with 44% of Luminal A tumours and DNAJC12 CRYAA DNAJC2 40% of Luminal B tumours (Fig. 6a). The HER2 subtype DNAJC5B DNAJB13 DNAJC6 CCT5 was dispersed into the three HSP groups, but the majority DNAJC1 CCT3 CCT2 DNAJC22 were seen in the HSP-Clust III. The Kaplan-Meier curves HSPE1 HSPB1 DNAJA3 DNAJC9 of the HSP clusters showed highly significant differences HYOU1 HSPD1 DNAJB11 in overall survival between groups (Fig. 6b, P = 0.0022), DNAJA4 CCT6A HSPH1 letting us identify a low-risk group (HSP-Clust I) and a DNAJB3 high-risk group (HSP-Clust III). Multivariable analyses of Luminal B HER2 HSP-Clust I against HSP-Clust II and HSP-Clust III ad- Fig. 3 Venn diagrams showing overlapped and specific differentially justed for known clinical covariates (tumour size, node expressed HSPs in intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer. The figure status, age, and tumour stage) showed different survival shows a summary of HSP genes expression analysis performed by rates for the HSP-Clust II, with a hazard ratio = 2.829 (CI Edge R method (fold-change > 2, FDR-adjusted P values < 0.05, 95% = 1.55–5.17) and P value = 0.0007; and HSP-Clust III and with no disagreement mean between the EdgeR and DESeq2 methods). Normal group was discarded based on the hazard ratio = 2.003 (CI 95% = 1.18–3.39) and P value = low number of cases. a Down-regulated HSP genes. b Up- 0.01 (Fig. 7a). We also tested a model including the intrin- regulated HSP genes sic molecular subtypes.In this case the P values of HSP-Clust coefficients became non-significant (Fig. 7b), which suggests that HSP-Clusts effect on survival is re- respect to normal tissue, which represents greater ex- lated to PAM50 subtypes. In order to validate the pression of them with respect to the rest of the subtypes, HSP-Clusts found, we used the METABRIC cohort di- especially in relation to HER2 and Luminal B types vided in a training and test set to reproduce our results. (Additional file 10 A). Briefly, by a hierarchical cluster algorithm we divided the training set into three distinct groups which were consist- HSPs expression variability and clinical outcome ent with the HSP-Clusts found in the TCGA dataset To investigate whether the complex regulation of HSP (Additional file 11 A) (TCGA HSP-Clust I vs. METABRIC genes was associated with clinical outcome, we per- HSP-Clust I with a correlation factor = 0.87, TCGA formed an integrated transcriptomic analysis of the 95 HSP-Clust II vs. METABRIC HSP-Clust II with a correl- HSP genes in the TCGA BRCA patients with known ation factor = 0.82 and TCGA HSP-Clust III vs. METAB- follow-up (n = 1033; Normal-like subtypes excluded). It RIC HSP-Clust III with a correlation factor = 0.7). is well-known that several HSPs have clinical correlates, Centroids for each HSP-Clusts from the training set were the best example is probably HSP90AA1 that it is used used to classify samples from the test set. The centroids as an adverse prognostic factor not only in BRCA but obtained from the test sets were in agreement with the also in other cancers . In order to get further infor- others centroids (Additional file 11 A). The PAM50 sub- mation of the clinical relevance of HSPs, we performed type distribution regarding HSP-Clusts was similar in both an overall survival analysis by Cox univariate model sets (Additional file 11 B). The overall survival of the based on the expression levels of each HSP. We HSP-Clusts corresponding to training and test sets showed up-regulated down-regulated Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 8 of 17 Fig. 4 Diagram showing a summary of HSPs expression grouped in subfamilies in breast cancer according to the intrinsic molecular subtypes. In the figure, the diameter of the circles shows the log fold change assessed by EdgeR method. The circles in green show downregulated genes and the red ones represent upregulated genes. The circle opacity is related to the FDR values, circles with FDR > 0.05 are transparent and therefore not depicted. The figure makes emphasis on fold change expression values regardless any threshold a significant difference between HSP groups (both training HSPB3, CRYAA and CRYAB compared to the others and test set had a Log-Rank test with a P value < 0.0001) HSP subtypes (a pattern that was also observed in (Additional file 11 C). Basal-like tumours). HSP-Clust III is enriched with It is interesting to note that there is a significant (but DNAJA gene expression (similar to the Luminal B and not complete) overlap between BRCA PAM50 intrinsic HER2 subtypes) (Additional file 10 B). subtypes and HSP-Clusts. For instance, HSP-Clust I is enriched with Luminal A tumours and also presents Discussion lower expression levels of HSPH, HSPC and type I and This is the first comprehensive study examining the II chaperonins compared to HSP-Clust II and HSP-Clust whole HSP family in breast cancer patients. The HSP III, which are enriched with Basal and Luminal B tu- family, characterized by 95 genes and one pseudogene, mours respectively. HSP-Clust II presents significantly represents only 0.46% of the 20,531 analysed genes. In higher levels of some HSPB genes such as HSPB2, this study, we found that in BRCA almost 30% of the Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 9 of 17 Table 1 Univariate Cox proportional hazard risk of breast cancer upregulation, see Fig. 3). In any case, it is evident that in based on HSP expression. Regression coefficients, hazard risk BRCA the expression levels of several HSP family mem- coefficients, standard error, P value and FDR are presented. bers are affected. Upregulation was noted mainly in the Only HSP genes with FDR < 0.05 are shown CHAP and HSPC family members while the greatest Gene Coefficient HR Coeff SE P-val FDR downregulation was observed in most HSPB members HSPA2 −0.35 0.71 0.10 < 0.001 0.005 (Fig. 3 and Additional file 9). The downregulation of the small HSPs agrees with a recent report . The HSP70 DNAJB5 −0.32 0.73 0.10 0.002 0.011 superfamily (which includes the HSP70 and HSP110 or HSCB −0.29 0.75 0.11 0.009 0.037 HSPH family) and the DNAJ members showed variable HSPA12B −0.29 0.75 0.10 0.003 0.016 results with ups and downs. DNAJC4 −0.27 0.76 0.10 0.006 0.027 The present study revealed that deregulation of the CCT6A 0.22 1.25 0.08 0.009 0.037 HSPs varied according to the BRCA molecular subtype. DNAJA2 0.25 1.29 0.08 0.002 0.011 Of importance at this point is: what are the functional implications of the up- and down-regulation of the HSP HSPA14 0.27 1.32 0.09 0.001 0.009 genes in each breast cancer subtypes? This is not an easy CCT7 0.28 1.32 0.11 0.008 0.034 point to address because in the present report we are HSPD1 0.30 1.35 0.10 0.003 0.013 finding alterations in HSP genes that are little known to CCT2 0.30 1.35 0.08 < 0.001 0.001 be linked with breast cancer; moreover others like HSPA4 0.31 1.36 0.11 0.005 0.025 DNAJB3 (increased in HER2 subtype), DNAJB13 and DNAJC6 0.34 1.40 0.11 0.002 0.011 DNAJC22 (increased in Luminal and Basal subtypes), and SACS (increased in all subtypes) have not been CCT5 0.35 1.42 0.10 < 0.001 0.005 related with any cancer type. Let’s begin with the SEC63 0.35 1.42 0.09 < 0.001 < 0.001 Chaperonin family. The members of this group can be di- HSPH1 0.35 1.42 0.10 < 0.001 0.004 vided into three distinct subgroups: Type I chaperonins, CCT8 0.40 1.49 0.10 < 0.001 0.001 established by HSPE1 and HSPD1 genes (also known by CCT4 0.40 1.49 0.10 < 0.001 < 0.001 their bacterial names GroES and GroEL or HSP10 and HSP90AA1 0.40 1.49 0.09 < 0.001 < 0.001 HSP60 respectively), type II chaperonins forming the T-complex protein-1 ring complex (TRiC) which is HSPA8 0.41 1.51 0.12 < 0.001 0.004 formed by a double ring structure with eight distinct DNAJC13 0.46 1.58 0.11 < 0.001 < 0.001 subunits (TCP1 and CCT genes) working as an ATP HSPA9 0.46 1.58 0.10 < 0.001 < 0.001 dependent protein folding machinery , and finally the TCP1 0.50 1.64 0.10 < 0.001 < 0.001 BBS group of genes (BBS10, BBS12 and MKKS) that in conjunction with the TRiC complex mediate the BBSome total genes were deregulated (19.45% upregulated and assembly . Of this group of genes, HSPD1, HSPE1, 10.5% downregulated), where the HSP family accounts CCT3 and CCT5 were overexpressed in Basal, HER2 and for 0.39% of this deregulation (0.32% of the upregulated Luminal B subtypes (more aggressive BRCA tumours). genes and 0.52% of the downregulated). Several reasons HSPD1 and HSPE1 are located on chromosome 2 have been mentioned to explain HSP misregulation in arranged in a head-to-head orientation and both are im- cancer: by the stressful situations found in cancer tissues plicated in macromolecular protein assembly and mito- , to increase the stabilization of transcription factors, chondrial protein import, while CCT3 and CCT5 form a receptors, protein kinases and other proteins that lie protein complex folding various proteins including actin along the pathways of normal to cancer transition , and tubulin upon ATP hydrolysis and, as part of the BBS/ and by the oncogenic agents/events that directly affect CCT complex, they are involved in the assembly of the the heat shock response . The activation of Heat BBSome, which in turn is implicated in ciliogenesis regu- Shock factors (HSF) during cancer progression can in lating transports vesicles to the cilia . At this point we turn explain the activation of the HSPs molecular chap- have to remember that breast cancer cells, mainly stem erones [26, 27]. Therefore, considering that cancer tis- cells, have primary cilia (a non-motile microtubule based sues are subjected to several stressful situations we cell-surface organelle) that acts as a cellular antenna for expected to see more upregulated HSPs (n = 13) and receiving signaling pathways involved in the regulation of fewer downregulated (n = 11). At this point we have to cell proliferation, differentiation and migration [31, 32]. say that the expression levels of several HSPs were very Therefore our study adds evidence to an important role of close to the cut-point used (log fold-change = ±1), this CCT3 and CCT5 in the more aggressive BRCA tumours: happened for example with the HSPC family which Basal, HER2 and Luminal B subtypes. CCT3 has been in- codes for the HSP90 (all appeared with a certain level of volved in mitosis progression and associated with poor Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 10 of 17 HSP-CLUSTER HSP-Clust I HSP-Clust II HSP-Clust III Positive NA ER Negative PR Indeterminated HER2 Her2 T <2 >2 LumB N0 N+ Basal LumA PAM50 DNAJC19 DNAJC1 DNAJC14 DNAJC12 HSPA1L DNAJC25 HSPA2 DNAJC28 CCT6B DNAJA4 HSPB8 HSPA12A DNAJC22 DNAJC13 DNAJB14 BBS10 HSPA13 DNAJC10 DNAJC27 DNAJC16 DNAJC3 DNAJB9 DNAJC24 DNAJC18 BBS12 HSPA4L DNAJC6 SACS DNAJB4 DNAJB7 HSPE1 HSPD1 CCT7 CCT4 CCT6A CCT5 TCP1 CCT8 HSP90AB1 CCT3 CCT2 HSP90AA1 HSPH1 DNAJA1 HSPA8 HSPA14 DNAJC2 DNAJC9 HSP90B1 HSPA5 HYOU1 DNAJB11 DNAJA2 HSPA9 HSPA4 DNAJC21 SEC63 DNAJB6 HSPA1B HSPA1A DNAJB1 TRAP1 DNAJA3 DNAJC11 DNAJC5 MKKS DNAJC8 HSPB11 DNAJC7 DNAJC5B HSPB7 HSPB6 HSPA12B HSPB2 CRYAB DNAJB5 DNAJC15 DNAJC30 DNAJC4 DNAJC17 DNAJB2 HSCB GAK HSPB1 DNAJB12 HSPB9 DNAJB13 HSPA7 HSPA6 4000 Bad Prognosis Subfamilies: DNAJ CHAP association Good HSPA HSPB HSPC −5 0 5 Scaled expression FDR < 0.05 Fig. 5 HSPs gene expression heatmap of TCGA BRCA cohorts. Expression patterns of 89 HSP genes in 1033 samples are depicted (central panel, low expression levels in blue and high expression levels in red). By a hierarchical clustering algorithm patients were group into HSP-Clust I (red), HSP-Clust II (green) and HSP-Clust III (orange) (upper dendrogram). Several rows were added to indicate: immunohistochemical status of receptors (ER, PR and HER2), tumour size (T > 2 cm or T < 2 cm), satellite nodules spread (N positive or N negative) and PAM50 classification. We also added three columns indicating HSP corresponding subfamilies, univariate Cox’s regression model coefficients (pink represents positives coefficients (bad prognosis), while light blue are negatives coefficients (good prognosis)) and its corresponding FDR values (black boxes represent FDR value for Cox’s coefficients < 0.05) prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma , has been im- CCT6B were also among the most highly expressed in plicated in osteosarcoma tumorigenesis , and appeared cancer and upregulated accordingly in the different sub- as a candidate biomarker in epithelial ovarian cancer  types, suggesting an important role of the TRiC complex and in cholangiocarcinoma patients . CCT3 was found specifically in BRCA as previously suggested . TRiC differentially expressed in colon and other epithelial can- has an essential role in cell proteostasis in physiological cers  and its expression has been associated with drug conditions but also in oncogenesis and cancer progression resistance in a squamous lung cancer cell line . CCT5  and is known to regulate the proper folding of several was found upregulated in p53-mutated breast tumours others genes involved in cancer such as actin, tubulin , and might be implicated in resistance to docetaxel treat- p53  and protoncogene STAT3 . In our study, ment . Of notice, all the other TRiC genes except HSP-Clust II (enriched with Basal-like tumours) presented Count Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 11 of 17 study (Additional file 10 B). All this data together sug- gest that not only the TRiC complex has a protagonist role in cancer behaviour but also that the HSPD1/ HSPE1 complex is involved tightly with TRiC in proteos- tasis regulation, an association that is poorly understood in breast cancer and should be further studied. On the other hand, BBS12 was underexpressed in the HER2 subtype predominantly and along with BBS10, both showed decreased expression levels in all subtypes. MKKS gene (also known as BBS6) was not altered. Therefore, our study reveals specific chaperones that participate in the as- Lum A Lum B Basal HER2 sembly of the BBSome altered in BRCA. (n=553) (n=209) (n=191) (n=80) LumA LumB Basal Her2 The HSP70 family is a group of evolutionary con- HSP-Clust I 382 52 6 19 served and ubiquitously expressed genes that in con- HSP-Clust II 2 5 178 9 HSP-Clust III 169 152 7 52 junction with the DNAJ family act as a protein folding regulatory network that also protects the cell against stressful conditions . Several members of the HSP70 100 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + family were found highly expressed (HSPA8, HSPA5, + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + + +++ + ++ + ++ + + + + ++ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ ++ + ++ +++ + ++ ++ + + ++ + + + + + ++ HSPA1A) or upregulated in BRCA. We found that + +++++ + + ++ + + 75 + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + ++ + + + + + + + ++ + ++ + +++ + ++ + HSPA6 expression appeared elevated mainly in Luminal + + ++ HSP-Clust I + + ++ ++ 50 A, Luminal B and Basal subtypes. In a previous study +HSP-Clust II high levels of this protein were associated with recur- +HSP-Clust III rence in hepatocellular carcinoma . HYOU1 also p = 0.0022 known as oxygen-regulated protein 150 (ORP150) was 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 upregulated in HER2 and Basal subtypes and the protein time (days) has been implicated with tumour progression in differ- Number at risk ent cancers [50–53]. HSPA5 was found highly expressed 459 304 142 103 69 53 33 14 in all subtypes, and especially upregulated in Basal tu- 194 121 53 42 32 21 16 6 380 235 104 78 57 33 23 16 mours in our study, and has been associated with endo- 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 plasmic reticulum stress response (ERSR), inhibition of time (days) apoptosis and autophagy in several studies [54–56]. Fig. 6 HSP cluster characterization. a) Agreement between PAM50 HSPA8 was the most expressed gene of the HSP70 fam- and HSP clusters. The size of the bars is in proportion to the number of samples in each category. b) Overall survival of HSP clusters. Kaplan- ily and one of the genes with the strongest association Meier curves corresponding to HSP-Clust I, HSP-Clust II and HSP-Clust with survival in our study. This gene is constitutively III. Statistical significance was evaluated by Log-Rank test expressed and has been largely associated with the protein folding and stress response [57, 58]. Interest- high expression levels of the TRiC complex genes. The ingly, DNAJC12, a gene strongly upregulated in current standard of treatment of triple-negative (TNBC) tu- Luminal A and B tumours, was found to interact with mours is systemic neoadjuvant chemotherapy that typically HSPA8 under ERSR . include taxanes which inhibit tubulin depolymerization Only one HSP appeared upregulated in the four sub- . We hypothesize that the measurement of the TRiC types considered: the protein encoded by DNAJC5B, complex genes along with the classification of tumour sam- which is implicated in protein processing at the level of ples in the different HSP-Clusts could be used as an im- the endoplasmic reticulum . This protein has been portant tool to predict taxane response, even though found in secretory vesicles as well as in synaptic and further studies are needed to validate this assumption. clathrin-coated vesicles in neuroendocrine, exocrine and Coming back to HSPE1, in a previous proteomic ana- nervous cells. Of interest is that this member of the lysis this protein appeared with altered expression in DNAJ family has been found upregulated in human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells (triple negative highly bladder carcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma, and glio- aggressive cells)  and both HSPD1/HSPE1 have also blastoma cell lines by the OCT4B1 variant (octamer- been found upregulated in other cancer types associated binding transcription factor 4 B1 variant) which is with tumour cell transformation . Interestingly, both expressed by pluripotent normal and cancer stem cell TRiC genes and HSPD1/HSPE1 were co-expressed and lines and linked to anti-apoptosis . In addition, these were associated with worst prognosis individually and authors found that the OCT4B1 variant is also linked to had high expression in the HSP-Clust II and III of our upregulation of the chaperonin DNAJC11 which is survival (%) Clust III Clust II Clust I Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 12 of 17 Variables No of Patients (%) Hazard Ratio (95% CI) p−value HSP-Clust II vs HSP-Clust I 190 (18.94%) 2.829 (1.55−5.17) 0.000727 HSP-Clust III vs HSP-Clust I 361 (35.99%) 2.003 (1.18−3.39) 0.00964 Age 58.28(mean) 1.038 (1.02−1.06) 2.45e−05 Positive node status 483 (48.16%) 0.601 (0.31−1.17) 0.132 Tumor size >2 cm 744 (74.18%) 0.92 (0.43−1.98) 0.83 Tumor stage II 582 (58.03%) 1.515 (0.49−4.68) 0.471 Tumor stage III 232 (23.13%) 2.588 (0.67−10.01) 0.168 Tumor stage IV 17 (1.69%) 4.757 (1.03−21.99) 0.0459 Hazard Ratio Variables No of Patients (%) Hazard Ratio (95% CI) p−value HSP-Clust II vs HSP-Clust I 190 (18.94%) 2.508 (0.68−9.24) 0.167 HSP-Clust III vs HSP-Clust I 361 (35.99%) 1.608 (0.9−2.88) 0.111 Age 58.28(mean) 1.042 (1.02−1.06) 5.22e−06 Positive node status 483 (48.16%) 0.577 (0.3−1.13) 0.108 Tumor size >2 cm 744 (74.18%) 0.974 (0.45−2.1) 0.946 Tumor stage II 582 (58.03%) 1.285 (0.41−4.02) 0.667 Tumor stage III 232 (23.13%) 2.228 (0.57−8.71) 0.249 Tumor stage IV 17 (1.69%) 3.827 (0.81−18.02) 0.0896 LumB vs LumA 203 (20.24%) 1.338 (0.71−2.53) 0.369 Her2 vs LumA 75 (7.48%) 3.227 (1.53−6.8) 0.00207 Basal-like vs LumA 188 (18.74%) 1.239 (0.33−4.61) 0.749 Hazard Ratio Fig. 7 Multivariable Cox Model of HSP-Clusts. a) Forest plot showing the hazard risk of HSP-Clusters controlling for confounders (age, node status, tumour size, tumour stage). Hazard ratios, 95% confidence interval and corresponding P values are depicted. b)SameCox’s model plus de addition of PAM50 subtypes as covariates complexed with mitofilin in the mitochondrial mem- by HSPB1 (HSP27), both proteins have been implicated in brane  and has been associated with neuromuscular HER2-positive tumours . Therefore, it will be of inter- diseases and lymphoid abnormalities . In this study, est to study the role of DNAJB3 in HER2 BRCA. However, DNAJC11 appeared slightly upregulated in Luminal B, we have to take into account that the upregulation levels HER2 and Basal subtypes. No attention has been of this gene might appear statistically significant, but the directed to these proteins (DNAJC5B and DNAJC11) in number of RNA molecules could be relatively low. There- BRCA. It is now evident that further studies must be di- fore, an upregulated gene could have few RNA copy num- rected to clarify the role of these proteins. DNAJC9 ap- bers and we ignore if the encoded protein has biological peared upregulated in Basal, HER2 and Luminal B, and significance. Nevertheless, this entire complex HSP70/ in previous studies has been found upregulated in DNAJ landscape suggests an intricate regulatory inter- node-positive uterine cervical carcinoma . action between these genes that remains to be untangled. Our study revealed HSPs that appeared both deregu- Finally, among the upregulated small heat shock pro- lated and not well studied in BRCA; for example, teins, HSPB1 stands out as the highest expressed of the DNAJB3 appeared with high levels of upregulation only group and appeared upregulated in Luminal A, Luminal in HER2 BRCA subtype. Close gene location with HER2 B, and HER2 (close to the cut-point in Basal); the pro- gene cannot explain upregulation of DNAJB3 since this tein encoded by this gene has been well studied in breast gene is located on chromosome 2 while HER2 (amplified cancer [4, 67]. in HER2 subtype) is located on chromosome 17. Little is Many of these upregulated genes and proteins known about the protein encoded by this gene, and its have been reported as associated with tumour pro- role in cancer in general and in breast cancer in particu- gression in different cancer types and in several op- lar is not known. DNAJB3 has been reported downregu- portunities with poor prognosis. In concordance, we lated in obese human subjects, DNAJB3 over-expression have found that some of these genes appeared up- in adipose cell lines caused: a) reduction in JNK (Jun regulated mainly in aggressive breast cancer sub- N-terminal kinase) improving insulin sensitivity and en- types that were clustered in the HSP-Clust III hancing glucose uptake and b) mediated PI3K/AKT group. Moreover, the complexity of the regulation of pathway activation . Of interest here is that the the HSPs in BRCA is further increased when we consider PI3K/Akt signalling pathway is negatively regulated by the high number of client proteins that are associated PTEN and we have reported that PTEN is downregulated with the HSPs . Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 13 of 17 Another interesting observation from the present (upregulated in Basal, Luminal B and HER2), SEC63 study is that several HSPs were downregulated in all (upregulated in HER2), TCP1, CCT4, CCT7, CCT8 breast cancer subtypes: DNAJB4, DNAJC18, HSPA12A, (upregulated in HER2 and Basal), HSP90AA1 (upreg- HSPA12B, HSPB2, HSPB6, and HSPB7. DNAJB4 is a ulated with a near 0.9 log fold-change in Luminal B, member of the DNAJ family and is described as a HER2 and Basal), HSPH1 (upregulated in Luminal B, tumour suppressor , which is in agreement with our HER2), DNAJA2, HSPA9, HSPA4, DNAJC13, and results; increased expression of DNAJB4 has been impli- HSPA8. Many of which were previously mentioned cated in the stabilization of wild-type E-cadherin (but (HSP90AA1, TRiC, HSPD1/HSPE1, HSP70 family) not the mutant) stimulating the anti-invasive function of and others for which their role in BRCA has not been E-cadherin in gastric cancer cells . Little is known exhaustively studied. about the protein coded by DNAJC18, but a poly- An important point of this study is the finding of three morphic variant has been associated with aggressive discrete HSPs expression profiles with prognostic signifi- bladder carcinoma . HSPA12A encodes a protein of cance (P = 0.0022) that we called HSP-Clust I, II and III. the HSP70 family that seems to act like a protective These HSP clusters groups were reproduced in an inde- factor in gastric cancer . We found high levels of pendent dataset using the METABRIC cohort and a sin- suppression in several members of the HSPB family gle sample predictor was trained to classify unknown (CRYAB, HSPB2, HSPB6 and HSPB7) (Fig. 3); in an inte- samples into one of the three HSP-Clusts with robust re- grated genomic and epigenomic analysis the ATM, sults. Importantly, TCGA and METABRIC datasets were HSPB2 and CRYAB (this last downregulated in Luminal developed using different RNA measurement technolo- A, Luminal B and Basal) genes were found commonly gies but the clusters found showed striking similarities deleted and underexpressed in patients with breast can- and had significant impact on disease outcome. An cer brain metastasis . The role of CRYAB gene interesting point to address is that the HSP-Clust II (Alpha B-crystallin HSPB5) is controversial in cancer (predominantly basal-like) in METABRIC is much more [72–79], its expression has been associated with aggres- clearly associated with a poor prognosis than the same sive breast cancer subtypes. In agreement with our signatures in the TCGA, a plausible explanation might results, HSPB6 and HSPB7 have been found downregu- be found in the survival differences of Basal-like lated in several tumour types [80–85], and we report tumours in each cohort (Additional file 12). Even though here this downregulation in all subtypes of BRCA is pos- HSP-Clusts survival is highly related to PAM50 subtypes sibly supporting a role as tumour suppressor genes. In as expected, it is important to notice that the overlap be- our analyses we compared tumour tissue with normal tween groups is not complete. Regarding Luminal breast tissue, but displacement of stroma in the tumour tumours, HSP-Clust I presented mainly Luminal A tu- samples could be affecting the results. Nevertheless, in a mours while HSP-Clust III presented mixed proportions recent publication none of the HSP genes were found al- of Luminal A and Luminal B subtypes. These findings tered by the confounding effect of tumour purity . could be reflecting differences in the biology of Luminal The HSPs expression patterns of the molecular subtypes A tumours from HSP-Clust I with respect to Luminal A are still heterogeneous  and the results of the present tumours of HSP-Clust III. Also, since HSPs have been study contribute to the characterization of these sub- long related with drug resistance, it would be of interest types. We are now completing the study of the methyla- to test if the different HSP-Clust are related with differ- tion status of the HSP genes as well as the mutations, ent chemotherapy response profiles, which in turn, amplifications and deletions in these genes. could imply a differential treatment for each HSP-Clust Of importance, we have to mention that some genes group. Further studies will be necessary to turn this clas- evaluated in this work presented clinically and biologic- sification useful for clinical practice and to better ally meaningful characteristics already described, but characterize the prognostic and treatment for these some others genes are totally unknown at the moment groups of patients. Since we used a combination of all . The clinically important genes DNAJB5, HSCB, HSP genes to evaluate survival, this could add superflu- HSPA2 (usually differentially overexpressed in Luminal ous information that can reduce the performance of the A and B), DNAJC4, and HSPA12B (downregulated in study. It will be interesting to reduce the number of BRCA) presented a significant FDR value in the Cox’s HSP genes in order to increase the potential of the HSPs proportional hazard model presenting negative coeffi- expression patterns as a prognostic factor. For in- cients (their expression was associated with a good prog- stance, the clinical subset of HSP genes with clinical nosis). In contrast, the genes with high expression levels importance could be used as a genetic signature to significantly associated with poor prognosis were: develop prognostic tests or as a base for future re- CCT6A, HSPA14, DNAJC6 (upregulated in Basal), search of predictive assays based on immunohisto- CCT2 (upregulated in Luminal B), CCT5, HSPD1 chemistry, microarray or rPCR. Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 14 of 17 Conclusions Additional file 9: Summary of HSP subfamily Fold Change trends across Our results show the existence of several HSP genes PAM50 subtypes. Boxplot representing HSP subfamilies log fold change ranges by EdgeR method in the different molecular subtypes of breast deregulated in all molecular subtypes of breast cancer cancer. (PDF 111 kb) while others appeared deregulated in specific molecular Additional file 10: Differential gene expression in BRCA TCGA tumours. subtypes. We also found that the overall survival of Summary of EdgeR ANOVA-like differential gene expression showing the breast cancer patients appeared associated with the ex- HSPs pairwise differences between tumour subtypes. Genes were grouped according to their corresponding families. Chaperonins were divided into pression level of certain HSPs. three different types (type I, type II and BBs chaperonins), HSPH were distinguished from the rest of the HSP70 family and DNAJ were divided into their three subfamilies (A, B and C). The vertical blue lines represents Additional files baseline level from the reference subtype while the light blue points shows the fold change of the HSP genes in each pairwise comparison. Red dots Additional file 1: Table S1. Clinical data of TCGA patients. The data are depicted for genes that had absolute log fold changes greater than 2. was updated with the available follow up information (May, 2015). A) Shows the comparison between PAM50 molecular subtypes, and B) shows differences between HSP-Clust subtypes. (PDF 202 kb) Table S2. Gene mean expression in breast cancer tissues. The mean expression of each gene in all cancer samples was calculated and Additional file 11: HSP clusters characterization. A) Centroid of HSP sorted in decreasing order. Table S3. Summary of misregulated genes in clusters expression profiles for TCGA, METABRIC training and test set. The BRCA. Tabulated data show the number and percentages of total genes colour of the boxes in regard to the central dashed line represents down and HSP genes presenting > 2 fold-change in total samples and according (blue) or upregulation (red) of the gene in the corresponding cluster. The to intrinsic BRCA subtypes. Table S4. Summary of PAM50 classification and continuous black line represents the mean expression values of each immunohistochemical characteristics of tumours. (XLSX 1080 kb) gene in the cluster compared to the mean of the same gene over all Additional file 2: Data analysis workflow. Schematic representation of samples. B) Agreement between PAM50 and HSP clusters for METABRIC HSPs transcriptomic and survival analysis process. (PDF 108 kb) training and test sets. The size of the bars is in proportion to the number of samples in each category. C) Overall survival of HSP clusters for METABRIC Additional file 3: PAM50 classification quality control of TCGA’s samples training and test sets. Kaplan-Meier curves corresponding to HSP-Clust I, I. A) Principal components analysis of the training and test sets. Note the HSP-Clust II and HSP-Clust III. Statistical significance was evaluated by subtype clustering and the superposition between both datasets. B) Log-Rank test. (PDF 214 kb) Correlations between subtype assigned and the corresponding subtype centroids per sample and relation between subtypes and proliferation Additional file 12: PAM50 subtypes overall survival in TCGA and index. Each dot represents a single sample. (PDF 166 kb) METABRIC cohorts. (PDF 166 kb) Additional file 4: PAM50 classification quality control of TCGA’s samples II. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of samples according to PAM50 Abbreviations gene set expression. Note the consistency between the subtype assigned BRCA: Breast cancer; DEG: Differential expressed gene; ER: Oestrogen receptor; to each sample by PAM50 algorithm and the group composition determined ERSR: Endoplasmic reticulum stress response; FDR: False discovery rate; by the clustering technique. (PDF 133 kb) HER2: HER2-enriched; HSP: Heat shock proteins; METABRIC: Molecular Additional file 5: Differential gene expression of 20,531 genes comparing Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium; PR: Progesterone cancer tissue against normal breast tissue. The values were determined by receptor; TCGA: The Cancer Genome Atlas EdgeR and DESeq2 methods; also the analysis was performed according molecular subtype classification. For better data exploration HSP genes were Acknowledgments separated in auxiliary tables. (XLSX 22435 kb) The authors thank Dr. Katherine Hoadley (University of North Carolina Chapel Additional file 6: Fold-change consistency between EdgeR and DESeq2 Hill) and Dr. Gary M. Clark (Boulder, CO) for advice. Also, gratefully acknowledge methods. A) Correlation analysis between fold-change obtained by both Daniel Roden and Geoff Macintyre for their valuable comments and suggestions methods. The figure shows a tight linear trend between EdgeR and DESeq2 that improved the quality of the paper. fold-change estimations. Genes found significant for both methods are represented in yellow circles, in green and red are genes significantly differentially expressed by one of the two methods and in white, genes with Funding no significant changes by both techniques. B) Bland Altman analysis comparing This work was partially supported by the following grants: Agencia Nacional the mean fold-changes of both methods (x-axis) and the difference between de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica PICT 2015 2607; CONICET PIP them (y-axis). This plot allows the identification of any systematic difference 11220110100836 DAS 30844; Universidad Nacional de Cuyo SECTYP J062; between methods and possible outliers. Each circle represents an HSP gene and Universidad del Aconcagua (UDA). The authors confirm that the founders and their colours the subtype for which the fold-change was calculated. The had no influence over the study design, content of the article, or selection of blue dotted line represents the mean difference between both techniques this journal. (0.02) and the light blue dashed line depicts the upper (0.88) and lower (− 0.84) limits of the 95% confidence interval of the differences. (PDF 175 kb) Availability of data and materials Additional file 7: HSPs differential gene expression between tumour tissues. The TCGA datasets analysed during the current study are available in the The values were determined by EdgeR ANOVA-like method performed on Genomic Data Commons Data Portal (National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA) 20,531 genes from BRCA TCGA. Only HSPs values are showed. Each column repository, (https://portal.gdc.cancer.gov/projects/TCGA-BRCA). The METABRIC includes log fold change values for all comparison, log mean counts per 2 2 data is available in the Synapse open source software platform under accession million (logCPM), F-statistic and corresponding p-values and FDR values. The number syn1757063, syn1757053 and syn1757055 (http://www.synapse.org). conditions compared are Luminal A vs. Luminal B, Luminal A vs. HER2, Luminal A vs. Basal-like, Luminal B vs. HER2, Luminal B vs. Basal-like Authors’ contributions and HER2 vs. Basal-like. Comparison between HSP-Clusts were also FCMZ and MEG have contributed equally to this work. Conception and considered, namely HSP-Clust I vs. HSP-Clust II, HSP-Clust I vs HSP-Clust III design: FCMZ, MEG and DRC. Development of methodology: FCMZ and and HSP-Clust II vs. HSP-Clust III. (XLSX 35 kb) MEG. Acquisition of data: MEG. Analysis and interpretation of data: Additional file 8: Dendrogram analysis of hierarchical clustering based FCMZ, MEG, GNC and DRC. Writing, review and/or revision of the on HSPs gene expression. The separation distance between branches was manuscript: FCMZ, MEG, GNC and DRC. Administrative, technical, and determined by silhouette technique. The highest coefficient corresponds material support: FCMZ, MEG, GNC, and DRC. All authors read and to the optimal number of cluster, in this case k = 3. (PDF 99 kb) approved the final manuscript. Zoppino et al. BMC Cancer (2018) 18:700 Page 15 of 17 Ethics approval and consent to participate 18. Robinson MD, McCarthy DJ, Smyth GK. edgeR: a Bioconductor package for This study has been approved by the Bioethical Committee of the Medical differential expression analysis of digital gene expression data. Bioinformatics. School of the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (0029963/ 2010;26(1):139–40. 2015). The experiments comply with the current laws of Argentina in which 19. Soneson C, Delorenzi M. 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BMC Cancer – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 28, 2018
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