Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) associated stromal changes and influx of immune cells might be mediators of progression to invasive breast cancer. We studied the interaction between DCIS-associated stromal changes, and immune cell distribution and composition in a well-characterized patient cohort. We included 472 patients with DCIS. The presence of stromal changes, signs of regression, and DCIS-associated immune cell position were determined on hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides. Immune cell composition was characterized by immunohistochemistry (CD4, CD8, CD20, CD68, and FOXP3). The number of intraductal immune cells was quantified per mm2 . The interaction between stromal changes, signs of DCIS regression, immune cell composition and location was explored. Stromal changes and signs of DCIS regression were identified in 30 and 7% of the patients, respectively. Intraductal immune cells mainly comprised CD68+ macrophages and CD8+ T cells. Patients with stromal changes had significantly less influx of immune cells within the duct. DCIS regression was associated with an increased number of intraductal FOXP3+ T cells. The highest number of intraductal CD8+ T cells was seen in the ER+ HER2+ subtype. We suggest that DCIS-associated stromal changes prevent the interaction between immune cells and DCIS cells. However, in case of DCIS regression, we surmise a direct interaction between DCIS cells and immune cells, in particular FOXP3+ cells. Furthermore, the increased number of intraductal CD8+ T cells in the ER+ HER2+ DCIS subtype suggests a subtype-specific immune response, which is likely to play a role in the distinct biological behavior of different DCIS subtypes.

dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0553-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/130758
Modern Pathology
Department of Pathology

Agahozo, M.C, Westenend, P, Van Bockstal, M.R., Hansum, T., Giang, J., Matlung, S.E., & van Deurzen, C.H.M. (2020). Immune response and stromal changes in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast are subtype dependent. Modern Pathology, 33(9), 1773–1782. doi:10.1038/s41379-020-0553-9