Purpose: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) in the residual disease (RD) of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) are associated with improved survival, but insight into tumor cell-autonomous molecular pathways affecting these features are lacking. Experimental Design: We analyzed TILs in the RD of clinically and molecularly characterized TNBCs after NAC and explored therapeutic strategies targeting combinations of MEK inhibitors with PD-1/PD-L1-targeted immunotherapy in mouse models of breast cancer. Results: Presence of TILs in the RD was significantly associated with improved prognosis. Genetic or transcriptomic alterations in Ras-MAPK signaling were significantly correlated with lower TILs. MEK inhibition upregulated cell surface MHC expression and PD-L1 in TNBC cells both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, combined MEK and PD-L1/PD-1 inhibition enhanced antitumor immune responses in mouse models of breast cancer. Conclusions: These data suggest the possibility that Ras-MAPK pathway activation promotes immune-evasion in TNBC, and support clinical trials combining MEK- and PDL1-targeted therapies. Furthermore, Ras/MAPK activation andMHC expression may be predictive biomarkers of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Clin Cancer Res; 22(6); 1499-509.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research