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Triple-negative breast cancer patients with high immune cell levels have lower relapse risk after surgery



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that lacks expression of three key receptors: estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This type of breast cancer is known for being more aggressive and harder to treat compared to other subtypes. However, recent research has shown that TNBC patients with high levels of immune cells in their tumors may have a lower risk of relapse after surgery.

A study published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research found that TNBC patients with high levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) had a significantly lower risk of relapse after surgery compared to patients with low levels of TILs. TILs are a type of immune cell that can recognize and kill cancer cells, making them a key component of the body’s natural defense against cancer.

The study, led by Dr. Sherene Loi from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, analyzed data from over 1,400 TNBC patients who had undergone surgery as their primary treatment. The researchers found that patients with high TIL levels had a 20% lower risk of relapse compared to patients with low TIL levels. This finding suggests that the immune system plays a crucial role in controlling the growth and spread of TNBC.

Dr. Loi explained that TILs are a promising biomarker for predicting patient outcomes in TNBC. She noted that measuring TIL levels in the tumor could help identify patients who are at higher risk of relapse and may benefit from additional treatment strategies to boost their immune response.

The study also found that TNBC patients with high TIL levels had better overall survival compared to patients with low TIL levels. This further supports the idea that the immune system plays a key role in controlling TNBC progression and could be targeted to improve patient outcomes.

One potential explanation for the link between high TIL levels and lower relapse risk is that TILs help to activate the body’s immune response against cancer cells. TILs can recognize and attack tumor cells, leading to their destruction. This immune response may help to eliminate any remaining cancer cells after surgery, reducing the risk of relapse.

In addition to TILs, other immune cells in the tumor microenvironment may also play a role in controlling TNBC. For example, regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a type of immune cell that suppresses the immune response and promotes tumor growth. High levels of Tregs in the tumor have been associated with a poorer prognosis in TNBC patients.

On the other hand, dendritic cells are a type of immune cell that can activate T cells and stimulate an immune response against cancer cells. High levels of dendritic cells in the tumor have been linked to better outcomes in TNBC patients.

Overall, the immune system plays a complex role in controlling TNBC progression, and the balance between different immune cell types in the tumor microenvironment may determine patient outcomes. Understanding the immune response in TNBC could help to develop new treatment strategies that target the immune system to improve patient outcomes.

One potential treatment approach for TNBC patients with high TIL levels is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It can help to boost the immune response against cancer cells and improve patient outcomes.

Several immunotherapy drugs have been approved for the treatment of TNBC, including checkpoint inhibitors that block proteins that suppress the immune response. These drugs have shown promising results in clinical trials, and ongoing research is exploring new immunotherapy strategies for TNBC patients.

In conclusion, TNBC patients with high levels of immune cells in their tumors have a lower risk of relapse after surgery. The immune system plays a crucial role in controlling TNBC progression, and measuring immune cell levels in the tumor could help to predict patient outcomes and guide treatment decisions. Immunotherapy is a promising treatment approach for TNBC patients with high TIL levels, and ongoing research is exploring new strategies to target the immune system and improve patient outcomes.



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Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cell, Chemotherapy, Research, Surgery, Tumor

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