Identification of immune-related prognostic biomarkers in triple-negative breast cancer

Transl Cancer Res. 2024 Apr 30;13(4):1707-1720. doi: 10.21037/tcr-23-1554. Epub 2024 Apr 25.


Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a type of breast cancer, lacks immune-related markers that can be used for prognosis or prediction. Therefore, we created a predictive framework for TNBC using a risk assessment.

Methods: Our previous study group consisted of 360 individuals who were diagnosed with TNBC through pathology using RNA sequencing and had clinical data from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center (FUSCC). A risk scoring model was constructed using the Cox regression method with the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). A multivariate Cox regression analysis was utilized to develop the prediction model, which was then assessed using the consistency index and calibration plots. The validation cohort of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) TNBC confirmed the strength of the signatures' predictive value.

Results: The prognostic risk score model included 12 genes: TDO2, CHIT1, CARML2, HLA-C, ADIRF, C19orf33, CA8, AHNAK2, RHOV, OPLAH, THEM6, and NEBL. The receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves for survivability values at 1, 3, and 5 years in the FUSCC TNBC cohort demonstrated area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.78, 0.83, and 0.75, respectively. These results indicated a high level of accuracy in predicting outcomes, which was further confirmed through validation using TCGA database. The patients in the high-risk group showed worse prognoses and lower levels of immune cell infiltration, specifically CD8+ T cells, than those in the low-risk group. Furthermore, the low-risk group exhibited a significant upregulation of genes that encode immune checkpoints, including CD274 and CTLA4, suggesting that immunotherapy may yield enhanced efficacy within this particular group.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the prognostic signature consisting of 12 genes can assist in the choice of immunotherapy for TNBC.

Keywords: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC); biomarker; immune risk score; prognosis.