Characterisation of the immune microenvironment of primary breast cancer and brain metastasis reveals depleted T-cell response associated to ARG2 expression



Giannoudis, A ORCID: 0000-0002-7200-1497, Vareslija, D, Sharma, V, Zakaria, R, Platt-Higgins, A, Rudland, PS ORCID: 0000-0002-7491-0846, Jenkinson, MD ORCID: 0000-0003-4587-2139, Young, LS and Palmieri, C ORCID: 0000-0001-9496-2718
(2022) Characterisation of the immune microenvironment of primary breast cancer and brain metastasis reveals depleted T-cell response associated to ARG2 expression. ESMO OPEN, 7 (6). 100636-.

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Abstract

<h4>Background</h4>Immune checkpoint inhibition is an established treatment in programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive metastatic triple-negative (TN) breast cancer (BC). However, the immune landscape of breast cancer brain metastasis (BCBM) remains poorly defined.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>The tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of 770 immune-related genes (NanoString™, nCounter™ Immuno-oncology IO360) were assessed in primary BCs and BCBMs. The prognostic role of ARG2 transcripts and protein expression in primary BCs and its association with outcome was determined.<h4>Results</h4>There was a significant reduction of TILs in the BCBMs in comparison to primary BCs. 11.5% of BCs presented a high immune infiltrate (hot), 46.2% were altered (immunosuppressed/excluded) and 34.6% were cold (no/low immune infiltrate). 3.8% of BCBMs were hot, 23.1% altered and 73.1% cold. One hundred and twelve immune-related genes including PD-L1 and CTLA4 were decreased in BCBM compared to the primary BCs (false discovery rate <0.01, log2 fold-change >1.5). These genes are involved in matrix remodelling and metastasis, cytokine-chemokine signalling, lymphoid compartment, antigen presentation and immune cell adhesion and migration. Immuno-modulators such as PD-L1 (CD274), CTLA4, TIGIT and CD276 (B7H3) were decreased in BCBMs. However, PD-L1 and CTLA4 expression was significantly higher in TN BCBMs (P = 0.01), with CTLA4 expression also high in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (P < 0.01) compared to estrogen receptor-positive BCBMs. ARG2 was one of four genes up-regulated in BCBMs. High ARG2 mRNA expression in primary BCs was associated with worse distant metastasis-free survival (P = 0.038), while ARG2 protein expression was associated with worse breast-brain metastasis-free (P = 0.027) and overall survival (P = 0.019). High transcript levels of ARG2 correlated to low levels of cytotoxic and T cells in both BC and BCBM (P < 0.01).<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study highlights the immunological differences between primary BCs and BCBMs and the potential importance of ARG2 expression in T-cell depletion and clinical outcome.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: breast cancer, brain metastasis, TIL, immuno-oncology, ARG2
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 15:44
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 19:43
DOI: 10.1016/j.esmoop.2022.100636
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3166342