We used DNA content flow cytometry followed by oligonucleotide array based comparative genomic hybridization to survey the genomes of 326 tumors, including 41 untreated surgically resected triple negative breast cancers (TNBC). A high level (log2ratio ≥ 1) 9p24 amplicon was found in TNBC (12/41), glioblastomas (2/44), and colon carcinomas (2/68). The shortest region of overlap for the amplicon targets 9p24.1 and includes the loci for PD-L1, PD-L2, and JAK2 (PDJ amplicon). In contrast this amplicon was absent in ER+ (0/8) and HER2+ (0/15) breast tumors, and in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (0/150). The PDJ amplicon in TNBCs was correlated with clinical outcomes in group comparisons by two-sample t-tests for continuous variables and chi-squared tests for categorical variables. TNBC patients with the PDJ amplicon had a worse outcome with worse disease-free and overall survival. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed that the PDJ amplicon in TNBC is associated with elevated expression of JAK2 and of the PD-1 ligands. These initial findings demonstrate that the PDJ amplicon is enriched in TNBC, targets signaling pathways that activate the PD-1 mediated immune checkpoint, and identifies patients with a poor prognosis.
Keywords: 9p24.1 amplicon; JAK2; PD-L1; flow sorting; triple negative breast cancer.