Researchers quantify immune cells associated with future breast cancer risk

February 8, 2017, Mayo Clinic
Credit: Mayo Clinic

Researchers from Mayo Clinic have quantified the numbers of various types of immune cells associated with the risk of developing breast cancer. The findings are published in a study in Clinical Cancer Research.

"This is the first study to quantify the numbers of various immune cell types in breast tissue and whether they are associated with later risk," says the study's lead author, Amy Degnim, M.D., a at Mayo Clinic. "Our findings provide evidence that the immune system may have an important role in promoting or inhibiting breast cancer development in its very earliest stages." In addition, Dr. Degnim says the findings provide researchers with greater confidence that immune-related approaches to breast cancer prevention, such as vaccines, may be useful.

Dr. Degnim and her colleagues studied quantitative differences in immune cell types between normal breast tissue from donors and breast tissue from donors with benign breast disease, a non-cancerous lump or thickening of breast tissue. They designed a breast tissue matched case control study using samples from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank and women diagnosed with benign breast disease at Mayo Clinic who subsequently developed cancer or remained cancer-free.

Researchers found that, compared to normal breast tissue, breast tissue with benign breast disease had greater numbers of several types of immune cells, especially dendritic cells and macrophages that work together to create an immune response, says Dr. Degnim. She says women who later developed breast cancer showed lower amounts of antibody-producing , known as B cells, in their , which supports the hypothesis that the immune system may play an important role in early breast cancer development.

Explore further: New breast cancer risk prediction model more accurate current model

More information: Amy C. Degnim et al. Alterations in the Immune Cell Composition in Premalignant Breast Tissue that Precede Breast Cancer Development, Clinical Cancer Research (2017). DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-2026

Related Stories

New breast cancer risk prediction model more accurate current model

January 26, 2015
A new breast cancer risk prediction model combining histologic features of biopsied breast tissue from women with benign breast disease and individual patient demographic information more accurately classified breast cancer ...

Researchers identify breast microbiome/bacterial differences between healthy and cancerous tissue

August 3, 2016
A team of Mayo Clinic researchers has identified evidence of bacteria in sterilely-obtained breast tissue and found differences between women with and without breast cancer. The findings are published in the Aug. 3 issue ...

Inbuilt body clocks link breast stiffness to cancer risks

January 31, 2017
University of Manchester biologists have discovered that breast tissues have 24-hour body clocks, and that several hundred genes are regulated in a daily cycle.

Breast cancer awareness: What women need to know

September 28, 2016
As national Breast Cancer Awareness Months begins next week, breast health expert Dr. Sharon Koehler of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, says women need to know the following five things:

3-D imaging improves breast cancer screening

November 9, 2016
What if breast cancers could be found earlier, lumps seen more clearly or the number of callbacks reduced? Three-dimensional breast imaging technology can do just that by increasing the accuracy of breast cancer screening ...

Research helps refine role of gene variants in breast cancer risk

December 7, 2016
Inherited pathogenic variants in protein coding genes BARD1 and RAD51D increase a woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer, according to research conducted at Mayo Clinic and presented today at the 2016 San Antonio ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover novel mechanism linking changes in mitochondria to cancer cell death

February 20, 2018
To stop the spread of cancer, cancer cells must die. Unfortunately, many types of cancer cells seem to use innate mechanisms that block cancer cell death, therefore allowing the cancer to metastasize. While seeking to further ...

Stem cell vaccine immunizes lab mice against multiple cancers

February 15, 2018
Stanford University researchers report that injecting mice with inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) launched a strong immune response against breast, lung, and skin cancers. The vaccine also prevented relapses ...

Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, researchers say

February 15, 2018
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine. Outside the body, they can be coaxed to become many different types of cells and tissues that can help repair damage due to trauma or ...

Team paves the way to the use of immunotherapy to treat aggressive colon tumors

February 15, 2018
In a short space of time, immunotherapy against cancer cells has become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumours appeared to be unresponsive to this kind ...

Can our genes help predict how women respond to ovarian cancer treatment?

February 15, 2018
Research has identified gene variants that play a significant role in how women with ovarian cancer process chemotherapy.

First comparison of common breast cancer tests finds varied accuracy of predictions

February 15, 2018
Commercially-available prognostic breast cancer tests show significant variation in their abilities to predict disease recurrence, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London of nearly 800 postmenopausal women.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.