Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Serum-derived extracellular vesicles from breast cancer patients contribute to differential regulation of T-cell-mediated immune-escape mechanisms in breast cancer subtypes

Graham, Rosalind, Gazinska, Patrycja, Zhang, Birong, Khiabany, Atousa, Sinha, Shubhankar, Alaguthurai, Thanussuyah, Flores-Borja, Fabian, Vicencio, Jose, Beuron, Fabienne, Roxanis, Ioannis, Matkowski, Rafal, Liam-Or, Revadee, Tutt, Andrew, Ng, Tony, Al-Jamal, Khuloud T., Zhou, You ORCID: and Irshad, Sheeba 2023. Serum-derived extracellular vesicles from breast cancer patients contribute to differential regulation of T-cell-mediated immune-escape mechanisms in breast cancer subtypes. Frontiers in Immunology 14 , 1204224. 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1204224

[thumbnail of fimmu-14-1204224.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (6MB)


Background: Intracellular communication within the tumour is complex and extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been identified as major contributing factors for the cell-to-cell communication in the local and distant tumour environments. Here, we examine the differential effects of breast cancer (BC) subtype-specific patient serum and cell-line derived EVs in the regulation of T cell mediated immune responses. Methods: Ultracentrifugation was used to isolate EVs from sera of 63 BC patients, 15 healthy volunteers and 4 human breast cancer cell lines. Longitudinal blood draws for EV isolation for patients on neoadjuvant chemotherapy was also performed. Characterization of EVs was performed by Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and immunoblotting. CD63 staining was performed on a tissue microarray of 218 BC patients. In-house bioinformatics algorithms were utilized for the computation of EV associated expression scores within The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and correlated with tumour infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) scores. In vitro stimulation of PBMCs with EVs from serum and cell-line derived EVs was performed and changes in the immune phenotypes characterized by flow cytometry. Cytokine profiles were assessed using a 105-plex immunoassay or IL10 ELISA. Results: Patients with triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) exhibited the lowest number of EVs in the sera; whilst the highest was detected in ER+HER2+ cancers; reflected also in the higher level of CD63+ vesicles found within the ER+HER2+ local tumour microenvironment. Transcriptomic analysis of the TCGA data identified that samples assigned with lower EV scores had significantly higher abundance of CD4+ memory activated T cells, T follicular cells and CD8 T cells, plasma, and memory B cells; whilst samples with high EV scores were more enriched for anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages and mast cells. A negative correlation between EV expression scores and stromal TIL counts was also observed. In vitro experiments confirmed that circulating EVs within breast cancer subtypes have functionally differing immunomodulatory capabilities, with EVs from patients with the most aggressive breast cancer subtype (TNBCs) demonstrating the most immune-suppressive phenotype (decreased CD3+HLA-DR+ but increased CD3+PD-L1 T cells, increased CD4+CD127-CD25hi T regulatory cells with associated increase in IL10 cytokine production). In depth assessment of the cytokine modulation triggered by the serum/cell line derived exosomes confirmed differential inflammatory cytokine profiles across differing breast cancer subtypes. Studies using the MDA-231 TNBC breast cancer cell-line derived EVs provided further support that TNBC EVs induced the most immunosuppressive response within PBMCs. Discussion: Our study supports further investigations into how tumour derived EVs are a mechanism that cancers can exploit to promote immune suppression; and breast cancer subtypes produce EVs with differing immunomodulatory capabilities. Understanding the intracellular/extracellular pathways implicated in alteration from active to suppressed immune state may provide a promising way forward for restoring immune competence in specific breast cancer patient populations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1664-3224
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 5 June 2023
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2023 12:26

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics