Background: Emerging data from pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest that HER-2/neu-specific T cell responses could induce HER-2/neu antigen loss in the tumor cells. These data suggest that patients with HER-2/neu negative breast cancer might have had HER-2/neu positive premalignant lesions in the past that progressed to HER-2/neu negative breast cancer under HER-2/neu-specific immune pressure.Methods: We conducted a pilot study in patients with HER-2/neu positive and HER-2/neu negative breast cancers as well as a patient with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). HER-2/neu expression was determined by FISH. HER-2/neu-specific T cell responses were determined by using IFN-γ ELISA. Expression of IFN-γ Rα in the tumors was determined by immunohistochemistry analysis of paraffin-embedded tissues.Results: We determined that majority of (10 of 12) patients with HER-2/neu negative breast cancer had HER-2/neu-specific IFN-γ producing T cell responses which was stronger than those in patients with HER-2/neu positive tumors. Such immune responses were associated with nuclear translocation of IFN-γ Rα in their tumor cells. Patient with DCIS also showed HER-2/neu-specific T cell responses.Conclusion: These data suggest that conducting retrospective studies in patients with HER-2/neu negative breast cancers and prospective studies in patients with HER-2/neu positive DCIS can determine whether HER-2/neu negative invasive carcinomas arise from HER-2/neu positive DCIS under the immune pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)