DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1130911; PMCID: PMC10118028
Background/introduction: As the most common form of pre-invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) affects over 50,000 women in the US annually. Despite standardized treatment involving lumpectomy and radiation therapy, up to 25% of patients with DCIS experience disease recurrence often with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), indicating that a subset of patients may be under-treated. As most DCIS cases will not progress to invasion, many patients may experience over-treatment. By understanding the underlying processes associated with DCIS to IDC progression, we can identify new biomarkers to determine which DCIS cases may become invasive and improve treatment for patients. Accumulation of fibroblasts in IDC is associated with disease progression and reduced survival. While fibroblasts have been detected in DCIS, little is understood about their role in DCIS progression.
Goals: We sought to determine 1) whether DCIS fibroblasts were similar or distinct from normal and IDC fibroblasts at the transcriptome level, and 2) the contributions of DCIS fibroblasts to breast cancer progression.
Methods: Fibroblasts underwent transcriptome profiling and pathway analysis. Significant DCIS fibroblast-associated genes were further analyzed in existing breast cancer mRNA databases and through tissue array immunostaining. Using the sub-renal capsule graft model, fibroblasts from normal breast, DCIS and IDC tissues were co-transplanted with DCIS.com breast cancer cells.
Results: Through transcriptome profiling, we found that DCIS fibroblasts were characterized by unique alterations in cell cycle and motility related genes such as PKMYT1, TGF-α, SFRP1 and SFRP2, which predicted increased cell growth and invasion by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Immunostaining analysis revealed corresponding increases in expression of stromal derived PKMYT1, TGF-α and corresponding decreases in expression of SFRP1 and SFRP2 in DCIS and IDC tissues. Grafting studies in mice revealed that DCIS fibroblasts enhanced breast cancer growth and invasion associated with arginase-1+ cell recruitment.
Conclusion: DCIS fibroblasts are phenotypically distinct from normal breast and IDC fibroblasts, and play an important role in breast cancer growth, invasion, and recruitment of myeloid cells. These studies provide novel insight into the role of DCIS fibroblasts in breast cancer progression and identify some key biomarkers associated with DCIS progression to IDC, with important clinical implications.
breast cancer; cell cycle; ductal carcinoma in situ; fibroblasts; invasion; invasive ductal carcinoma; stroma; transcriptome
Fang WB, Medrano M, Cote P, et al. Transcriptome analysis reveals differences in cell cycle, growth and migration related genes that distinguish fibroblasts derived from pre-invasive and invasive breast cancer. Front Oncol. 2023;13:1130911. Published 2023 Apr 6. doi:10.3389/fonc.2023.1130911