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      The Contribution of Race to Breast Tumor Microenvironment Composition and Disease Progression

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          Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women following skin cancer. Despite overall decrease in breast cancer mortality due to advances in treatment and earlier screening, black patients continue to have 40% higher risk of breast cancer related death compared to white patients. This disparity in outcome persists even when controlled for access to care and stage at presentation and has been attributed to differences in tumor subtypes or gene expression profiles. There is emerging evidence that the tumor microenvironment (TME) may contribute to the racial disparities in outcome as well. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of current literature available regarding race-dependent differences in the TME. Notably, black patients tend to have a higher density of pro-tumorigenic immune cells (e.g., M2 macrophages, regulatory T cells) and microvasculature. Although immune cells are classically thought to be anti-tumorigenic, increase in M2 macrophages and angiogenesis may lead to a paradoxical increase in metastasis by forming doorways of tumor cell intravasation called tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM). Furthermore, black patients also have higher serum levels of inflammatory cytokines, which provide a positive feedback loop in creating a pro-metastatic TME. Lastly, we propose that the higher density of immune cells and angiogenesis observed in the TME of black patients may be a result of evolutionary selection for a more robust immune response in patients of African geographic ancestry. Better understanding of race-dependent differences in the TME will aid in overcoming the racial disparity in breast cancer mortality.

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          Cancer immunotherapy: the beginning of the end of cancer?

          These are exciting times for cancer immunotherapy. After many years of disappointing results, the tide has finally changed and immunotherapy has become a clinically validated treatment for many cancers. Immunotherapeutic strategies include cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses, adoptive transfer of ex vivo activated T and natural killer cells, and administration of antibodies or recombinant proteins that either costimulate cells or block the so-called immune checkpoint pathways. The recent success of several immunotherapeutic regimes, such as monoclonal antibody blocking of cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1), has boosted the development of this treatment modality, with the consequence that new therapeutic targets and schemes which combine various immunological agents are now being described at a breathtaking pace. In this review, we outline some of the main strategies in cancer immunotherapy (cancer vaccines, adoptive cellular immunotherapy, immune checkpoint blockade, and oncolytic viruses) and discuss the progress in the synergistic design of immune-targeting combination therapies.
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            Cancer cells induce metastasis-supporting neutrophil extracellular DNA traps.

            Neutrophils, the most abundant type of leukocytes in blood, can form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). These are pathogen-trapping structures generated by expulsion of the neutrophil's DNA with associated proteolytic enzymes. NETs produced by infection can promote cancer metastasis. We show that metastatic breast cancer cells can induce neutrophils to form metastasis-supporting NETs in the absence of infection. Using intravital imaging, we observed NET-like structures around metastatic 4T1 cancer cells that had reached the lungs of mice. We also found NETs in clinical samples of triple-negative human breast cancer. The formation of NETs stimulated the invasion and migration of breast cancer cells in vitro. Inhibiting NET formation or digesting NETs with deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) blocked these processes. Treatment with NET-digesting, DNase I-coated nanoparticles markedly reduced lung metastases in mice. Our data suggest that induction of NETs by cancer cells is a previously unidentified metastasis-promoting tumor-host interaction and a potential therapeutic target.
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              Anti-inflammatory M2, but not pro-inflammatory M1 macrophages promote angiogenesis in vivo.

              Macrophages show extreme heterogeneity and different subsets have been characterized by their activation route and their function. For instance, macrophage subsets are distinct by acting differently under pathophysiological conditions such as inflammation and cancer. Macrophages also contribute to angiogenesis, but the role of various specific subsets in angiogenesis has not been thoroughly investigated. Matrigel supplemented with macrophage subsets [induced by IFNγ (M1), IL-4 (M2a) or IL-10 (M2c)] was injected subcutaneously in C57BL/6 J mice and analyzed by CD31 staining after 14 days. Increased numbers of endothelial cells and tubular structures were observed in M2-enriched plugs compared to control and other subsets. Additionally, more tubular structures formed in vitro in the presence of M2 macrophages or their conditioned medium. To identify a mechanism for the pro-angiogenic effect, gene expression of angiogenic growth factors was analyzed. Induced expression of basic fibroblast growth factor (Fgf2), insulin-like growth factor-1 (Igf1), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2) and placental growth factor (Pgf) was observed in M2 macrophages. Using a blocking antibody of PlGF to inhibit M2c induced angiogenesis resulted in mildly reduced (40 %) tube formation whereas neutralization of FGF-2 (M2a) signaling by sFGFR1-IIIc affected tube formation by nearly 75 %. These results indicate that macrophages polarized towards an M2 phenotype have a higher angiogenic potential compared to other subsets. Furthermore, we propose FGF signaling for M2a- and PlGF signaling for M2c-induced angiogenesis as possible working mechanisms, yet, further research should elucidate the exact mechanism for M2-induced angiogenesis.

                Author and article information

                Front Oncol
                Front Oncol
                Front. Oncol.
                Frontiers in Oncology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                30 June 2020
                : 10
                1Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                2Integrated Imaging Program, Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                3Department of Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                4Gruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                5Department of Medicine (Oncology), Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                6School of Health & Life Sciences, Teesside University , Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
                7National Horizons Centre, Teesside University , Darlington, United Kingdom
                8Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine , Bronx, NY, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Cesar Augusto Santa-Maria, Johns Hopkins Medicine, United States

                Reviewed by: Prashant Trikha, Nationwide Children's Hospital, United States; Daniel Christian Hoessli, University of Karachi, Pakistan

                *Correspondence: Maja H. Oktay maja.oktay@ 123456einsteinmed.org

                This article was submitted to Molecular and Cellular Oncology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Oncology

                Copyright © 2020 Kim, Pastoriza, Condeelis, Sparano, Filippou, Karagiannis and Oktay.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 126, Pages: 11, Words: 9640


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