The AIB1 gene was isolated upon microdissection of the homogeneously staining regions observed in breast cancer cell lines. It was subsequently shown to map at a region at 20q12 that is frequently amplified in breast tumors. In a screen of breast tumor cell lines, of all the genes mapping to the region, AIB1 appeared to be the most consistently amplified and overexpressed. AIB1 shares homology with the SRC-1 family of nuclear receptor coactivators. It was found to interact in a ligand-dependent manner with the estrogen receptor (ER) and to result in increased levels of estrogen-dependent transcription. These properties could be of important biological significance in breast and ovarian cancerigenesis, and we were, therefore, interested in determining whether the amplification of the AIB1 gene was associated with a particular phenotype or subgroup in these tumors. We tested a population of 1157 breast and 122 ovarian tumors in which DNA amplification had been determined previously at 15 chromosomal locations. Amplification of the AIB1 gene was observed in 4.8% of breast cancers and 7.4% of ovarian cancers. In breast tumors, AIB1 was correlated with ER and progesterone receptor positivity, as well as with tumor size. Correlation was also observed with the amplification of MDM2 and FGFR1 genes, but interestingly, no correlation was found with the amplification of CCND1, which is known to be strongly associated with ER. Furthermore, analyzing at 20q12-q13 range, we show the existence of three amplification cores, represented by AIB3/AIB4, AIB1, and RMC20C001. AIB1 and CCND1 amplifications may, thus, represent two different subsets of ER-positive breast tumors.

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