CD16+ monocytes in breast cancer patients: expanded by monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and may be useful for early diagnosis

Clin Exp Immunol. 2011 Apr;164(1):57-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2011.04321.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Human peripheral blood monocytes are a heterogeneous population, including CD14(+) CD16(-) 'classical' monocytes and CD14(+) CD16(+) 'proinflammatory' monocytes. CD16(+) monocytes are expanded in various inflammatory conditions. However, little is known about the CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes in patients with breast cancer. We detected CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes in 96 patients with breast cancer and 54 control subjects using flow cytometry. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine the feasibility of CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes as an indicator for diagnosis of breast cancer. We found that the frequency of CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes showed a significantly greater increase in breast cancer patients than in controls (16·96% versus 10·84%, P < 0·0001). The area under the ROC curve for CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes was 0·805 [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0·714-0·877, P = 0·0001]. Furthermore, the levels of CD16(+) monocytes were significantly negatively associated with the tumour size and pathological staging. In vitro, we showed that CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes were expanded significantly when the purified CD14(+) monocytes were exposed to Michigan Cancer Foundation (MCF)-7 cells-conditioned medium (MCF-CM) or, separately, to monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). Neutralizing antibodies against MCP-1 inhibited the expansion of CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes by MCF-CM. Collectively, our findings indicated that MCP-1 can expand CD14(+) CD16(+) monocytes in patients with breast cancer. Furthermore, the CD14(+) CD16(+) monocyte may be a useful indicator in early diagnosis of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Receptors, IgG / metabolism*


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • FCGR3B protein, human
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Receptors, IgG