Nishida J, Cristea S, Bodapati S, Puleo J, Bai G, Patel A, Hughes M, Snow C, Borges V, Ruddy KJ, Collins LC, Feeney AM, Slowik K, Bossuyt V, Dillon D, Lin NU, Partridge AH, Michor F, Polyak K. 2023. Peripheral blood TCR clonotype diversity as an age-associated marker of breast cancer progression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 120(49):e2316763120. Pubmed: 38011567 DOI:10.1073/pnas.2316763120


Immune escape is a prerequisite for tumor growth. We previously described a decline in intratumor activated cytotoxic T cells and T cell receptor (TCR) clonotype diversity in invasive breast carcinomas compared to ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), implying a central role of decreasing T cell responses in tumor progression. To determine potential associations between peripheral immunity and breast tumor progression, here, we assessed the peripheral blood TCR clonotype of 485 breast cancer patients diagnosed with either DCIS or de novo stage IV disease at younger (<45) or older (≥45) age. TCR clonotype diversity was significantly lower in older compared to younger breast cancer patients regardless of tumor stage at diagnosis. In the younger age group, TCR-α clonotype diversity was lower in patients diagnosed with de novo stage IV breast cancer compared to those diagnosed with DCIS. In the older age group, DCIS patients with higher TCR-α clonotype diversity were more likely to have a recurrence compared to those with lower diversity. Whole blood transcriptome profiles were distinct depending on the TCR-α Chao1 diversity score. There were more CD8 T cells and a more active immune environment in DCIS tumors of young patients with higher peripheral blood TCR-α Chao1 diversity than in those with lower diversity. These results provide insights into the role that host immunity plays in breast cancer development across different age groups.

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Franziska Michor uses the tools of theoretical evolutionary biology, applied mathematics, statistics, and computational biology to address important questions in cancer research.

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