Breast cancers are classified into five intrinsic subtypes and 10 integrative clusters based on gene expression patterns and genomic aberrations, respectively. Although the cell-of-origin, adaptive plasticity, and genomic aberrations shape dynamic transcriptomic landscape during cancer progression, how interplay between these three core elements governs obligatory steps for a productive cancer progression is unknown. Here, we used genetic ancestry-mapped immortalized breast epithelial cell lines generated from breast biopsies of healthy women that share gene expression profiles of luminal A, normal-like, and basal-like intrinsic subtypes of breast cancers and breast cancer relevant oncogenes to develop breast cancer progression model. Using flow cytometry, mammosphere growth, signaling pathway, DNA damage response, and in vivo tumorigenicity assays, we provide evidence that establishes cell context–dependent effects of oncogenes in conferring plasticity, self-renewal/differentiation, intratumor heterogeneity, and metastatic properties. In contrast, oncogenic aberrations, independent of cell context, shaped response to DNA damage-inducing agents. Collectively, this study reveals how the same set of genomic aberration can have distinct effects on tumor characteristics based on cell-of-origin of tumor and highlights the need to utilize multiple “normal” epithelial cell types to decipher oncogenic properties of a gene of interest. In addition, by creating multiple isogenic cell lines ranging from primary cells to metastatic variants, we provide resources to elucidate cell-intrinsic properties and cell-oncogene interactions at various stages of cancer progression.

Implications:

Our findings demonstrate that how an interplay between the normal cell type that encountered genomic aberrations and type of genomic aberration influences heterogeneity, self-renewal/differentiation, and tumor properties including propensity for metastasis.

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