The clinical significance of immune cell subtypes in breast cancer remains poorly understood. To identify tumor-infiltrating immune cell subtypes in breast cancer and investigate their implications, tissue microarrays were constructed using 334 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma (luminal A type: 162 (48.5%), luminal B type: 96 (28.7%), HER-2 type: 21 (6.3%), and triple negative breast cancer: 55 (16.5%)). Hormone receptors (ER, PR, and HER-2), Ki-67, and immune cell subtype-related proteins (STAT4, STAT6, FOXP3, CD8, CD68, and CD163) were assessed immunohistochemically. The proportion of highly expressed STAT6, FOXP3, CD8, CD68, and CD163 proteins was found to be lowest in luminal A type but highest in the HER-2 type. Additionally, high-level STAT6, FOXP3, CD68, and CD163 protein expression was associated with higher histologic grade. ER negativity was associated with high STAT6, FOXP3, and CD163 expression levels, whereas PR negativity and high Ki-67 labeling index were associated with high CD163 expression. Univariate (p = 0.003) and multivariate Cox (hazard ratio: 2.435, 95% CI: 1.110-5.344, p = 0.049) analyses showed that high CD8 expression is an independent factor associated with shorter disease-free survival. Immune cell subtype-related protein expression is dependent on breast cancer molecular subtypes, and CD8 expression is associated with patient prognosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by a faculty research grant from Yonsei University College of Medicine for 2016 (6–2016–0163).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry