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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 901303, 11 pages
Research Article

Deciphering the Correlation between Breast Tumor Samples and Cell Lines by Integrating Copy Number Changes and Gene Expression Profiles

Department of Central Laboratory, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China

Received 28 November 2014; Revised 16 January 2015; Accepted 26 January 2015

Academic Editor: Xiao Chang

Copyright © 2015 Yi Sun and Qi Liu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers with high incident rate and high mortality rate worldwide. Although different breast cancer cell lines were widely used in laboratory investigations, accumulated evidences have indicated that genomic differences exist between cancer cell lines and tissue samples in the past decades. The abundant molecular profiles of cancer cell lines and tumor samples deposited in the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia and The Cancer Genome Atlas now allow a systematical comparison of the breast cancer cell lines with breast tumors. We depicted the genomic characteristics of breast primary tumors based on the copy number variation and gene expression profiles and the breast cancer cell lines were compared to different subgroups of breast tumors. We identified that some of the breast cancer cell lines show high correlation with the tumor group that agrees with previous knowledge, while a big part of them do not, including the most used MCF7, MDA-MB-231, and T-47D. We presented a computational framework to identify cell lines that mostly resemble a certain tumor group for the breast tumor study. Our investigation presents a useful guide to bridge the gap between cell lines and tumors and helps to select the most suitable cell line models for personalized cancer studies.