Human sequences closely related to the gene env of MMTV, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of breast cancer patients.

P Makhov1, A Lushnikova1, T Malivanova 1, N Karmosh2, A Denisova2, K Laktionov2, E Polevaya2, I Kryukova1

1Institute of Carcinogenesis CRC RAMS 2Institute of Clinical Oncology1 CRC RAMS

INTRODUCTION: As we recently reported, human sequences, closely related to the env MMTV gene, are expressed in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of the most of breast cancer (BC) patients. The expression of the sequences is correlated with the detection in human PBMC of an antigen immunologically related to gp52 - the product of the env MMTV gene. The results on isolation and sequencing of the above DNA sequences are represented in this work. METHODS: PCR using a pair of primers corresponding to gp52-coding area of env MMTV gene. Southern-blot hybridization with gp52-coding area of the env MMTV gene as a probe under hard conditions, followed by PCR reaction for the detection of the specific PCR-products. Sequencing of PCR-products. RESULTS: gp-52-specific PCR-products were detected in DNA samples isolated from PBMC of BC patients, from gynaecological tumor patients and from healthy donors. In 85% cases the samples derived from BC patients were positive. DNA samples derived from PBMC of gynaecological tumor patients and healthy donors were positive in 22,2% and 35% of the cases, respectively. Sequencing of several specific PCR-products demonstrated about 97% homology with gp52-coding area of the gene env MMTV of exogenous C3H strain. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that the sequences we studied could be considered as a molecular marker of BC. Now we have no answer, whether endogenous or exogenenous nature these sequences are. However, it seems that a hypothetical exogenous retroviral agent exists in humans, plays a role in mammary gland carcinogenesis, and involves lymphocytes in its circulation and distribution.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies; Paris, France; February 9 - 12, 2002; in the section on Molecular Pathology.