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Clinical Review Abstract

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Levels of circulating natural killer T and natural killer cells in breast cancer patients.


Tumor Biology

2013 ASCO Annual Meeting

Abstract No:

J Clin Oncol 31, 2013 (suppl; abstr e22034)

Publication-only abstracts (abstract number preceded by an "e"), published in conjunction with the 2013 Annual Meeting but not presented at the Meeting, can be found online only.

Author(s): Mya Sanda Thein, Saranya Chumsri, James Eeast, Junxin Li, Susan Kesmodel, Ting Bao, Steven J. Feigenberg, Katherine Hanna Tkaczuk, Tonya Webb; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; University of Maryland, Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD; University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Abstract Disclosures


Background: Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a unique subset of T lymphocytes that express markers characteristic of both T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. Following activation, iNKT cells rapidly produce a variety of cytokines and activate many other immune cells, thus iNKT cells are key mediators of innate immune responses (IIR) against tumors. The aim of this study was to assess the percentage (%) of iNKT, NKT-like, and NK cells in the peripheral blood of healthy volunteers (HV) and breast cancer (BC) patients. Methods: The % of circulating iNKT (Va24Ja18+CD3+), NKT-like (CD3+CD16CD56+), and NK (CD3-CD16CD56+) cells was analyzed by standardized flow cytometry in 22 newly diagnosed stage 0-3 BC patients and 27 HV. Luminal A BC was defined as ER/PR+≥1%, HER2- Ki67<20%. Differences between groups were assessed using the Mann-Whitney U test for nonparametric data and ANOVA for ≥ 3 groups. Results: iNKT cells % in BC patients (ages: 37-75) was significantly lower compared to HV (ages: 21-64) (Mean: 0.32 vs 0.12, p=0.0036). Among BC patients, NK cells were lower in patients aged ≥50 yrs (p=0.003) and with BMI ≥ 30 (p=0.0036). NK cell % was higher in Asians compared to other races. Patients with luminal A BC, which generally have the best prognosis, have a significantly higher % of NKT-like cells. Conclusions: Interestingly our data shows that older and obese BC patients have lower % of circulating NK cells, while patients with luminal A tumors have a higher % of NKT-like and a lower % of iNKT cells. Further studies on the effects of BMI and aging on IIR as well as functional studies are needed to better understand immunosenescence-related increasing incidence of cancers and IIR-mediated anti-tumor activity in BC patients. [caption]iNKT, NKT-like, and NK cells (% lymphocytes) by age, BMI, race, and pathology in BC patients.[/captions]

n iNKT NKT-like NK
Age <50 yr 11 0.15±0.18 10.91±8.7 19.8±7.5*
≥50 yr 11 0.11±0.13 7.45±6.4 10.4±4.7
BMI <30 15 0.15±0.18 10.96±8.35 17.71±7.9*
≥30 7 0.09±0.08 5.37±4.33 9.73±3.39
Race Asian 3 0.13±0.11 18.72±9.23 26.51±10.06*
Caucasian 9 0.15±0.14 7.66±6.94 14.27±5.7
African-American 10 0.11±0.18 7.68±6.38 12.58±6.1
Pathology Luminal A 7 0.05±0.08* 10.89±8.01* 13.24±5.2
Non-Luminal A 15 0.16±0.17 8.38±7.67 16.07±8.6

*p value <0.05.


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