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Ali H.R.,University of Cambridge | Dariush A.,University of Cambridge | Provenzano E.,University of Cambridge | Provenzano E.,Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Center and Cambridge Biomedical Research Center | And 23 more authors.
Breast Cancer Research | Year: 2016

Background: There is a need to improve prediction of response to chemotherapy in breast cancer in order to improve clinical management and this may be achieved by harnessing computational metrics of tissue pathology. We investigated the association between quantitative image metrics derived from computational analysis of digital pathology slides and response to chemotherapy in women with breast cancer who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Methods: We digitised tissue sections of both diagnostic and surgical samples of breast tumours from 768 patients enrolled in the Neo-tAnGo randomized controlled trial. We subjected digital images to systematic analysis optimised for detection of single cells. Machine-learning methods were used to classify cells as cancer, stromal or lymphocyte and we computed estimates of absolute numbers, relative fractions and cell densities using these data. Pathological complete response (pCR), a histological indicator of chemotherapy response, was the primary endpoint. Fifteen image metrics were tested for their association with pCR using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Results: Median lymphocyte density proved most strongly associated with pCR on univariate analysis (OR 4.46, 95 % CI 2.34-8.50, p < 0.0001; observations = 614) and on multivariate analysis (OR 2.42, 95 % CI 1.08-5.40, p = 0.03; observations = 406) after adjustment for clinical factors. Further exploratory analyses revealed that in approximately one quarter of cases there was an increase in lymphocyte density in the tumour removed at surgery compared to diagnostic biopsies. A reduction in lymphocyte density at surgery was strongly associated with pCR (OR 0.28, 95 % CI 0.17-0.47, p < 0.0001; observations = 553). Conclusions: A data-driven analysis of computational pathology reveals lymphocyte density as an independent predictor of pCR. Paradoxically an increase in lymphocyte density, following exposure to chemotherapy, is associated with a lack of pCR. Computational pathology can provide objective, quantitative and reproducible tissue metrics and represents a viable means of outcome prediction in breast cancer. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00070278 ; 03/10/2003 © 2016 Ali et al.

PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Nottingham, Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Center and Cambridge Biomedical Research Center, Coventry University and 3 more.
Type: Clinical Trial, Phase III | Journal: Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology | Year: 2014

T-cell infiltration in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast tumours has been associated with longer survival. To investigate this association and the potential of tumour T-cell infiltration as a prognostic and predictive marker, we have conducted the largest study of T cells in breast cancer to date.Four studies totalling 12 439 patients were used for this work. Cytotoxic (CD8+) and regulatory (forkhead box protein 3, FOXP3+) T cells were quantified using immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC for CD8 was conducted using available material from all four studies (8978 samples) and for FOXP3 from three studies (5239 samples)-multiple imputation was used to resolve missing data from the remaining patients. Cox regression was used to test for associations with breast cancer-specific survival.In ER-negative tumours [triple-negative breast cancer and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive)], presence of CD8+ T cells within the tumour was associated with a 28% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16% to 38%] reduction in the hazard of breast cancer-specific mortality, and CD8+ T cells within the stroma with a 21% (95% CI 7% to 33%) reduction in hazard. In ER-positive HER2-positive tumours, CD8+ T cells within the tumour were associated with a 27% (95% CI 4% to 44%) reduction in hazard. In ER-negative disease, there was evidence for greater benefit from anthracyclines in the National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial in patients with CD8+ tumours [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.54; 95% CI 0.37-0.79] versus CD8-negative tumours (HR = 0.87; 95% CI 0.55-1.38). The difference in effect between these subgroups was significant when limited to cases with complete data (P heterogeneity = 0.04) and approached significance in imputed data (P heterogeneity = 0.1).The presence of CD8+ T cells in breast cancer is associated with a significant reduction in the relative risk of death from disease in both the ER-negative [supplementary Figure S1, available at Annals of Oncology online] and the ER-positive HER2-positive subtypes. Tumour lymphocytic infiltration may improve risk stratification in breast cancer patients classified into these subtypes. NEAT ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00003577.

PubMed | Cambridge Experimental Cancer Medicine Center and Cambridge Biomedical Research Center and University of Cambridge
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS medicine | Year: 2016

Immune infiltration of breast tumours is associated with clinical outcome. However, past work has not accounted for the diversity of functionally distinct cell types that make up the immune response. The aim of this study was to determine whether differences in the cellular composition of the immune infiltrate in breast tumours influence survival and treatment response, and whether these effects differ by molecular subtype.We applied an established computational approach (CIBERSORT) to bulk gene expression profiles of almost 11,000 tumours to infer the proportions of 22 subsets of immune cells. We investigated associations between each cell type and survival and response to chemotherapy, modelling cellular proportions as quartiles. We found that tumours with little or no immune infiltration were associated with different survival patterns according to oestrogen receptor (ER) status. In ER-negative disease, tumours lacking immune infiltration were associated with the poorest prognosis, whereas in ER-positive disease, they were associated with intermediate prognosis. Of the cell subsets investigated, T regulatory cells and M0 and M2 macrophages emerged as the most strongly associated with poor outcome, regardless of ER status. Among ER-negative tumours, CD8+ T cells (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-0.98; p = 0.02) and activated memory T cells (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80-0.97; p = 0.01) were associated with favourable outcome. T follicular helper cells (odds ratio [OR] = 1.34, 95% CI 1.14-1.57; p < 0.001) and memory B cells (OR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.0-1.39; p = 0.04) were associated with pathological complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in ER-negative disease, suggesting a role for humoral immunity in mediating response to cytotoxic therapy. Unsupervised clustering analysis using immune cell proportions revealed eight subgroups of tumours, largely defined by the balance between M0, M1, and M2 macrophages, with distinct survival patterns by ER status and associations with patient age at diagnosis. The main limitations of this study are the use of diverse platforms for measuring gene expression, including some not previously used with CIBERSORT, and the combined analysis of different forms of follow-up across studies.Large differences in the cellular composition of the immune infiltrate in breast tumours appear to exist, and these differences are likely to be important determinants of both prognosis and response to treatment. In particular, macrophages emerge as a possible target for novel therapies. Detailed analysis of the cellular immune response in tumours has the potential to enhance clinical prediction and to identify candidates for immunotherapy.

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