Comprehensive Analysis of the Immunogenomics of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Brain Metastases From LCCC1419

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive variant of breast cancer that lacks the expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER and PR) and HER2. Nearly 50% of patients with advanced TNBC will develop brain metastases (BrM), commonly with progressive extracranial disease. Immunotherapy has shown promise in the treatment of advanced TNBC; however, the immune contexture of BrM remains largely unknown. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of TNBC BrM and matched primary tumors to characterize the genomic and immune landscape of TNBC BrM to inform the development of immunotherapy strategies in this aggressive disease. Methods: Whole-exome sequencing (WES) and RNA sequencing were conducted on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples of BrM and primary tumors of patients with clinical TNBC (n = 25, n = 9 matched pairs) from the LCCC1419 biobank at UNC—Chapel Hill. Matched blood was analyzed by DNA sequencing as a comparison for tumor WES for the identification of somatic variants. A comprehensive genomics assessment, including mutational and copy number alteration analyses, neoantigen prediction, and transcriptomic analysis of the tumor immune microenvironment were performed. Results: Primary and BrM tissues were confirmed as TNBC (23/25 primaries, 16/17 BrM) by immunohistochemistry and of the basal intrinsic subtype (13/15 primaries and 16/19 BrM) by PAM50. Compared to primary tumors, BrM demonstrated a higher tumor mutational burden. TP53 was the most frequently mutated gene and was altered in 50% of the samples. Neoantigen prediction showed elevated cancer testis antigen- and endogenous retrovirus-derived MHC class I-binding peptides in both primary tumors and BrM and predicted that single-nucleotide variant (SNV)-derived peptides were significantly higher in BrM. BrM demonstrated a reduced immune gene signature expression, although a signature associated with fibroblast-associated wound healing was elevated in BrM. Metrics of T and B cell receptor diversity were also reduced in BrM. Conclusions: BrM harbored higher mutational burden and SNV-derived neoantigen expression along with reduced immune gene signature expression relative to primary TNBC. Immune signatures correlated with improved survival, including T cell signatures. Further research will expand these findings to other breast cancer subtypes in the same biobank. Exploration of immunomodulatory approaches including vaccine applications and immune checkpoint inhibition to enhance anti-tumor immunity in TNBC BrM is warranted.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Routh, ED; Van Swearingen, AED; Sambade, MJ; Vensko, S; McClure, MB; Woodcock, MG; Chai, S; Cuaboy, LA; Wheless, A; Garrett, A; Carey, LA; Hoyle, AP; Parker, JS; Vincent, BG; Anders, CK

Published Date

  • July 27, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2234-943X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3389/fonc.2022.818693

Citation Source

  • Scopus