Focusing on two types of immune cells, neutrophils and macrophages, they found large diversity in the cells' frequency, including neutrophil-enriched and macrophage-enriched groups whose functionality suggested potential roles in immunotherapy. The work highlights that heterogeneity of both tumor cells themselves and immune composition of the microenvironment are important considerations for therapy. The report appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
"We know that breast cancer is very heterogeneous. For many years we have recognized different subtypes of breast cancer, for instance, estrogen receptor positive (ER+), ER- and triple negative, and these categories can be further divided into subcategories. To that, we now have to add the diversity of the immune cell component in the tumor microenvironment," said corresponding author Dr. Xiang 'Shawn' Zhang, professor at the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
Goal - Role - Immune - Cells - Tumors
With the goal of better understanding the role immune cells within tumors play in tumor growth and in response to therapy, Zhang and his colleagues conducted a series of analyses to characterize the immune cell composition of tumor microenvironments in eight murine models and in clinical datasets of triple negative breast cancers.
"Focusing on neutrophils and macrophages, we investigated whether different tumors had the same immune cell composition and whether seemingly similar immune components played the same role in tumor growth. Importantly, we wanted to find out...
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