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In the clinical practice bone metastatic breast cancer (BrCa) patients could be distinguished in 2 groups: patients with bone only metastases (BO) and patients with bone and visceral metastases (B+V), the latter having a poor clinical outcome. We performed a whole genome microarray analysis on bone metastases samples from these 2 groups of patients, unveiling a cluster of genes that were modulated in bone metastasis samples from B+V patients vs. bone metastases from BO patients. Among them we found Hemoglobin-beta(HBB), one of the most regulated genes. Moreover, immunohistochemistry performed on BrCa samples showed that tumor cells express HBB, and its expression increased in tumor cells that were able to colonize multiple sites other than bone. Therefore, the aim of the project is to investigate a potential role of HBB in BrCa and, as suggested by our preliminary data, whether HBB expression is involved in the ability of tumor cells to give rise to multiple metastases.
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