Identification of genetic determinants of breast cancer immune phenotypes by integrative genome-scale analysis.
Cancer immunotherapy is revolutionizing the clinical management of several tumors, but has demonstrated limited activity in breast cancer. The development of more effective treatments is hindered by incomplete knowledge of the genetic determinant of immune responsiveness. To fill this gap, we mined copy number alteration, somatic mutation, and expression data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). By using RNA-sequencing data from 1,004 breast cancers, we defined distinct immune phenotypes characterized by progressive expression of transcripts previously associated with immune-mediated rejection. The T helper 1 (Th-1) phenotype (ICR4), which also displays upregulation of immune-regulatory transcripts such as , and , was associated with prolonged patients’ survival. We validated these findings in an independent meta-cohort of 1,954 breast cancer gene expression data. Chromosome segment 4q21, which includes genes encoding for the Th-1 chemokines CXCL9-11, was significantly amplified only in the immune favorable phenotype (ICR4). The mutation and neoantigen load progressively decreased from ICR4 to ICR1 but could not fully explain immune phenotypic differences. Mutations of were enriched in the immune favorable phenotype (ICR4). Conversely, the presence of and mutations were tightly associated with an immune-unfavorable phenotype (ICR1). Using both the TCGA and the validation dataset, the degree of MAPK deregulation segregates breast tumors according to their immune disposition. These findings suggest that mutation-driven perturbations of MAPK pathways are linked to the negative regulation of intratumoral immune response in breast cancer. Modulations of MAPK pathways could be experimentally tested to enhance breast cancer immune sensitivity.Lire l‘article