A study just published in Breast Cancer Research caught my eye because it provided additional perspective on why some TNBC tumors are so much more aggressive than others. Earlier research has shown that there are different forms of TNBC, but the classification in this particular study seemed a little clearer and more straightforward. Plus, the entire publication is easily accessible.
The gist of the recent research is that, as has been obvious for some time, basal-like TNBC tumors are the most likely to be aggressive. But there has been a lot of confusion just about everywhere on whether or not all TNBC tumors are basal-like. They are not, and this study shows how and why, and breaks TNBC into four different subtypes. It also might show why some TNBC tumors react to androgen therapy.
The report is pretty easy to track, so take some time to noodle it. The essential nugget, though, comes in the Results section of the Abstract:
All of the 165 TNBC tumors were classified into four distinct clusters, including an immunomodulatory subtype (IM), a luminal androgen receptor subtype (LAR), a mesenchymal-like subtype (MES) and a basal-like and immune suppressed (BLIS) subtype. The IM subtype had high expressions of immune cell signaling and cytokine signaling genes. The LAR subtype was characterized by androgen receptor signaling. The MES subtype was enriched with growth factor signaling pathways. The BLIS subtype was characterized by down-regulation of immune response genes, activation of cell cycle, and DNA repair. Patients in this subtype experienced worse recurrence-free survival than others (log rank test, P = 0.045). Subtype-specific lncRNAs were identified, and their possible biological functions were predicted using co-expression network analyses.
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