Single-cell profiling of breast cancer T cells reveals a tissue-resident memory subset associated with improved prognosis

Journal: Nature Medicine

Published: 2018-06-25

DOI: 10.1038/s41591-018-0078-7

Affiliations: 16

Authors: 25

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Research Highlight

Resident immune cells underpin body’s response to breast cancer

© Raycat/Getty

© Raycat/Getty

Immune cells that infiltrate breast tumours exhibit a gene expression signature that is predictive of patient survival.

A team led by University of Melbourne researchers isolated more than 6,300 individual T cells from the tumours of two women with the particularly aggressive ‘triple-negative’ form of breast cancer. They then characterized all the RNA molecules in each immune cell and identified a distinct population of cells, known as tissue-resident memory T cells, that were associated with improved outcomes in a separate trial of patients with this form of breast cancer.

The findings could lead to new diagnostic tests to help guide treatment decisions for patients with breast cancer. Furthermore, drugs that boost the activity of these favourable immune cells may also improve responses to existing immunotherapeutic agents.

Supported content

  1. Nature Medicine 24, 986–993 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41591-018-0078-7
Institutions Share
Research Division, Peter Mac, Australia 0.23
The University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Australia 0.23
Division of Cancer Surgery, Peter Mac, Australia 0.17
Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, UniMelb, Australia 0.10
Pathology Specialty, Peter Mac, Australia 0.06
Division of Bioinformatics, WEHI, Australia 0.05
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), Australia 0.04
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, La Trobe University, Australia 0.02
School of Mathematics and Statistics, UniMelb, Australia 0.02
The Royal Women's Hospital, Australia 0.02
Department of Medical Biology, UniMelb, Australia 0.01
School of Medicine, Tsinghua, China 0.01
Ziekenhuizen Campus Sint-Vincentius (GZA Sint-Vincentius), GZA, Belgium 0.01
General Surgery, RMH, Australia 0.01
Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne (RDHM), Australia 0.01