Possible marker of treatment resistance in HER2 breast cancer identified

Possible marker of treatment resistance in HER2 breast cancer identified

News from IMIM

The ageing of NK lymphocytes circulating in the blood of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer is a marker that can predict the success or failure of monoclonal antibody therapies, which act on a specific factor in tumour cells.  This is the conclusion of a study led by researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Pompeu Fabra University, and doctors from the Hospital del Mar, published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research.

The study involved analysing blood samples from 66 patients, immunogenetic and functional studies of the NK lymphocytes of these patients, as well as analysing tumour biopsies. The ageing of these cells was measured by quantifying the NK lymphocytes in the blood that express the CD57 molecule. The results show that patients with high blood counts at the time of diagnosis are more likely to be resistant to chemotherapy and anti-HER2 antibody treatment. These observations are complemented by in vitro studies showing that NK CD57+ lymphocytes, despite being functional, have less capacity to divide and, possibly, less ability to reach the tumour.

This new work suggests that aged NK cells either do not reach the tumour, or do not survive there, conditioning the efficacy of the treatment.

Muntasell A*, Servitja S, Cabo M, Bermejo B, Perez-Buira S, Rojo F, Costa-Garcia M, Arpí O, Moraru M, Serrano L, Tusquets I, Martínez MT, Heredia G, Vera A, Martínez-García M, Soria L, Comerma L, Santana-Hernández S, Eroles P, Rovira A, Vilches C, Lluch A, Albanell J*, López-Botet M. High numbers of circulating CD57+ NK cells associate with resistance to HER2-specific therapeutic antibodies in HER2+ primary breast cancer. Cancer Immunol Res 2019.


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