Immune microenvironment as a factor of breast cancer progression

Diagn Pathol. 2015 Jun 26:10:79. doi: 10.1186/s13000-015-0316-y.


Background: The rate of progression of the disease depends on various factors and the tumor microenvironment takes not the last place among them. One part of researchers argues that the presence of tumor-infiltrating leukocytes serves as a favorable marker of the disease. There exists a completely different point of view on the matter. The investigation of the effects of the inflammatory infiltration on the course of breast cancer process.

Methods: We found a pronounced inflammatory infiltration in the tumor microenvironment in 24 cases. Nineteen cases of IDC without inflammatory infiltration were used as a control group. Immunohistochemical reaction showed expression of ERα, PR, HER2/neu, E-cadherin, Hsp90α, Bcl-2, CD3, CD79α, S100 and Myeloperoxidase receptors. Mathematical calculations were done using Microsoft Excel 2010 with 12.0.5 Attestat option.

Results: We have determined five variants of immune microenvironment: interstitial, trabecular, nodular, diffuse and mixed. We have established a direct correlation between the expression of ERα and PR and indirect correlation between the receptors of steroid hormones and HER2/neo in both groups of breast cancer. HER2/neo positive tumors in 100% of cases were accompanied by the presence of heat shock proteins. There was a combination of Bcl-2 presence with the steroid receptors expression in 90 % of cases. There was found the indirect correlation between the presence of B lymphocytes and expression of steroid receptors.

Conclusions: The presence of B lymphocytes in an inflammatory infiltrate leads to the disappearance of estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors. It provokes the accumulation of Hsp90 in a cell. It contributes to the stabilization of HER2/neu receptors and most proteins that promote tumor progression.

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MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / analysis
  • Female
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • ESR1 protein, human
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2