New immunological potential markers for triple negative breast cancer: IL18R1, CD53, TRIM, Jaw1, LTB, PTPRCAP.
Breast cancer (BC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide, and settings of specific prognostic factors and efficacious therapies are made difficult by phenotypic heterogeneity of BC subtypes. Therefore, there is a current urgent need to define novel predictive genetic predictors that may be useful for stratifying patients with distinct prognostic outcomes. Here, we looked for novel molecular signatures for triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs). By a bioinformatic approach, we identified a panel of genes, whose expression was positively correlated with disease-free survival in TNBC patients, namely IL18R1, CD53, TRIM, Jaw1, LTB, and PTPRCAP, showing specific immune expression profiles linked to survival prediction; most of these genes are indeed expressed in immune cells and are required for productive lymphocyte activation. According to our hypothesis, these genes were not, or poorly, expressed in different TNBC cell lines, derived from either primary breast tumours or metastatic pleural effusions. This conclusion was further supported in vivo, as immuno-histochemical analysis on biopsies of TNBC invasive ductal carcinomas highlighted differential expression of these six genes in cancer cells, as well as in intra- and peri-tumoral infiltrating lymphocytes. Our data open to the possibility that inter-tumour heterogeneity of immune markers might have predictive value; further investigations are recommended in order to establish the real power of cancer-related immune profiles as prognostic factors.