BACKGROUND: The DNA-damage immune-response (DDIR) signature is an immune-driven gene expression signature retrospectively validated as predicting response to anthracycline-based therapy. This feasibility study prospectively evaluates the use of this assay to predict neoadjuvant chemotherapy response in early breast cancer.
METHODS: This feasibility study assessed the integration of a novel biomarker into clinical workflows. Tumour samples were collected from patients receiving standard of care neoadjuvant chemotherapy (FEC + /-taxane and anti-HER2 therapy as appropriate) at baseline, mid- and post-chemotherapy. Baseline DDIR signature scores were correlated with pathological treatment response. RNA sequencing was used to assess chemotherapy/response-related changes in biologically linked gene signatures.
RESULTS: DDIR signature reports were available within 14 days for 97.8% of 46 patients (13 TNBC, 16 HER2 + ve, 27 ER + HER2-ve). Positive scores predicted response to treatment (odds ratio 4.67 for RCB 0-1 disease (95% CI 1.13-15.09, P = 0.032)). DDIR positivity correlated with immune infiltration and upregulated immune-checkpoint gene expression.
CONCLUSIONS: This study validates the DDIR signature as predictive of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy which can be integrated into clinical workflows, potentially identifying a subgroup with high sensitivity to anthracycline chemotherapy. Transcriptomic data suggest induction with anthracycline-containing regimens in immune restricted, "cold" tumours may be effective for immune priming.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Almac Diagnostic Services and Cancer Research UK (C44582/A29302). Almac Diagnostic Services undertook microarray and RNA sequencing, but otherwise, the funders had no role in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data.
© 2021, The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research