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
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac), Australia 0.46
The University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Australia 0.37
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Australia 0.05
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), Australia 0.04
La Trobe University, Australia 0.02
The Royal Women's Hospital, Australia 0.02
Tsinghua University, China 0.01
GZA Hospitals, Belgium 0.01
Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), Australia 0.01
Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne (RDHM), Australia 0.01