Decoding immune heterogeneity of triple negative breast cancer and its association with systemic inflammation

Sandra Romero-Cordoba, Elisabetta Meneghini, Milena Sant, Marilena Valeria Iorio, Lucia Sfondrini, Biagio Paolini, Roberto Agresti, Elda Tagliabue, Francesca Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype with limited therapeutic options. New opportunities are emerging from current comprehensive characterization of tumor immune infiltration and fitness. Therefore, effectiveness of current chemotherapies and novel immunotherapies are partially dictated by host inflammatory and immune profiles. However, further progress in breast cancer immuno-oncology is required to reach a detailed awareness of the immune infiltrate landscape and to determine additional reliable and easily detectable biomarkers. In this study, by analyzing gene expression profiles of 54 TNBC cases we identified three TNBC clusters displaying unique immune features. Deep molecular characterization of immune cells cytolytic-activity and tumor-inflammation status reveled variability in the local composition of the immune infiltrate in the TNBC clusters, reconciled by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes counts. Platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), a blood systemic parameter of inflammation evaluated using pre-surgical blood test data, resulted negatively correlated with local tumoral cytolytic activity and T cell–inflamed microenvironment, whereas tumor aggressiveness score signature positively correlated with PLR values. These data highlighted that systemic inflammation parameters may represent reliable and informative markers of the local immune tumor microenvironment in TNBC patients and could be exploited to decipher tumor infiltrate properties and consequently to select the most appropriate therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number911
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • CBC
  • Immune heterogeneity
  • Inflammation
  • Platelet
  • PLR
  • TILs
  • TNBC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Decoding immune heterogeneity of triple negative breast cancer and its association with systemic inflammation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this