The underlying mechanism of the progression of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-obligate precursor of invasive breast cancer (IBC), has yet to be elucidated. In IBC, Apolipoprotein B mRNA Editing Enzyme, Catalytic Polypeptide-Like 3B (APOBEC3B) is upregulated in a substantial proportion of cases and is associated with higher mutational load and poor prognosis. However, APOBEC3B expression has never been studied in DCIS. We performed mRNA expression analysis of APOBEC3B in synchronous DCIS and IBC and surrounding normal cells. RNA was obtained from 53 patients. The tumors were categorized based on estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2) and phosphoinositide-3-kinase, catalytic, alpha polypeptide (PIK3CA) mutation status. APOBEC3B mRNA levels were measured by RT-qPCR. The expression levels of paired DCIS and adjacent IBC were compared, including subgroup analyses. The normal cells expressed the lowest levels of APOBEC3B. No differences in expression were found between DCIS and IBC. Subgroup analysis showed that APOBEC3B was the highest in the ER subgroups of DCIS and IBC. While there was no difference in APOBEC3B between wild-type versus mutated PIK3CA DCIS, APOBEC3B was higher in wild-type versus PIK3CA-mutated IBC. In summary, our data show that APOBEC3B is already upregulated in DCIS. This suggests that APOBEC3B could already play a role in early carcinogenesis. Since APOBEC3B is a gain-of-function mutagenic enzyme, patients could benefit from the therapeutic targeting of APOBEC3B in the early non-invasive stage of breast cancer.

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Department of Medical Oncology

Sieuwerts, A., Doebar, S. C., de Weerd, V., Verhoef, E., C.M. Beauford (Corine), Agahozo, M., … van Deurzen, C. (2019). APOBEC3B Gene Expression in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and Synchronous Invasive Breast Cancer. Cancers, 11(8). doi:10.3390/cancers11081062