The BRCA1 gene product was identified as a 220-kilodalton nuclear phosphoprotein in normal cells, including breast ductal epithelial cells, and in 18 of 20 tumor cell lines derived from tissues other than breast and ovary. In 16 of 17 breast and ovarian cancer lines and 17 of 17 samples of cells obtained from malignant effusions, however, BRCA1 localized mainly in cytoplasm. Absence of BRCA1 or aberrant subcellular location was also observed to a variable extent in histological sections of many breast cancer biopsies. These findings suggest that BRCA1 abnormalities may be involved in the pathogenesis of many breast cancers, sporadic as well as familial.
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