Application Note: The C-DiGit Blot Scanner Used in Breast Cancer Metastases Investigations
13 January 2014

Dispersion of tumors throughout the body is a neoplastic process responsible for the vast majority of deaths from cancer. Bidirectional interplay of breast cancer cells and native brain cells in metastasis is poorly understood and rarely studied. We had the rare opportunity to investigate uncommonly available specimens of matched fresh breast-to-brain metastases tissue and derived cells from patients undergoing neurosurgical resection. Using the C-DiGit chemiluminescent Western blot scanner (LI-COR Biosciences), among other techniques, we found breast-to-brain metastatic tissue and cells displayed a GABAergic phenotype similar to that of neuronal cells. The GABAA receptor, GABA transporter, GABA transaminase, parvalbumin, and reelin were all highly expressed in breast cancer metastases to the brain. The results suggest that breast cancers exhibit neural characteristics when occupying the brain microenvironment and co-opt GABA as an oncometabolite.