Circulating neutrophils from patients with early breast cancer have distinct subtype-dependent phenotypes

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PURPOSE: An elevated number of circulating neutrophils is a poor prognostic factor for breast cancer, where evidence of bone marrow cancer-dependent priming is found. However, how early this priming is detectable remains unclear. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Here, we investigate changes in circulating neutrophils from newly diagnosed breast cancer patients before any therapeutic interventions. To do this, we assessed their lifespan and their broader intracellular kinase network activation states by using the Pamgene Kinome assay which measures the activity of neutrophil kinases. RESULTS: We found sub-type specific L-selectin (CD62L) changes in circulating neutrophils as well as perturbations in their overall global kinase activity. Strikingly, breast cancer patients of different subtypes (HR+, HER2+, triple negative) exhibited distinct neutrophil kinase activity patterns indicating that quantifiable perturbations can be detected in circulating neutrophils from early breast cancer patients, that are sensitive to both hormonal and HER-2 status. We also detected an increase in neutrophils lifespan in cancer patients, independently of tumour subtype. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the tumour-specific kinase activation patterns in circulating neutrophils may be used in conjunction with other markers to identify patients with cancer from those harbouring only benign lesions of the breast. Given the important role neutrophil in breast cancer progression, the significance of this sub-type of specific priming warrants further investigation.

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Volume 25
Issue number 1
Pages 125
Available online
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