Article

Early Stage HER2 Positive Breast Cancers Not Achieving A pCR From Neoadjuvant Trastuzumab Or Pertuzumab Based Regimens Have An Immunosuppressive Phenotype

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Background: Stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) might predict pathologic complete response (pCR) in patients with HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer treated with trastuzumab (H). Docetaxel (T), carboplatin (C), H, and pertuzumab (P) have immune-modulating effects. Pre- and post-treatment immune biomarkers in cancers treated with neoadjuvant TCH with or without P are lacking. In this study we quantified baseline and changes in TILs, cluster of differentiation (CD) 4+, CD8+, FoxP3+, and PD-L1+cells using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantified productive T-cell receptor β (TCRβ) rearrangements and TCRβ clonality using next-generation sequencing (NGS) in 30 HER2+breast cancer tissues treated with neoadjuvant H with or without P regimens. Materials and methods: Thirty pre- and post-neoadjuvant TCH (n = 4) or TCHP (n = 26) breast cancer tissues were identified. TILs were quantified manually using hematoxylin and eosin. CD4, CD8, FoxP3, and PD-L1 were stained using IHC. TCRβ was evaluated using NGS. Immune infiltrates were compared between pCR and non-pCR groups using the Wilcoxon rank sum test. Results: A pCR occurred in 15 (n = 15; 50%) cancers (TCH n = 2; TCHP, n = 13). Pretreatment TILs, CD4+, CD8+, FoxP3+, and PD-L1+cells were not associated with response (P = .42, P = .55, P = .19, P = .66, P = .87, respectively. Pretreatment productive TCRβ and TCRβ clonality did not predict response, P = .84 and P = .40, respectively). However, post-treatment CD4+and FoxP3+cells (T-regulatory cells) were elevated in the non-pCR cohort (P = .042 and P = .082, respectively). Conclusion: An increase in regulatory T cells in non-pCR tissues suggests the development of an immunosuppressive phenotype. Further investigation in a larger cohort of samples is warranted to validate these findings.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In total 24 articles compared the number or density of TILs before and after treatment on HE stained slides [10,12,13,16,18,21,23,27,31,35,39,41,44,47,48,53,61,80,81,84,88,89,92,93]. No articles reported on TILs in the TIME between treated vs. untreated patients. ...
... In total 25 articles reported on a CD4 IHC staining, 16 compared a pre-treatment to a post-treatment specimen and nine a treated vs. an untreated cohort [13,22,31,34,37,38,48,51,61,73,75,77,85,90,95,96,98,101,104,109,112,113,[115][116][117]. From the 16 studies comparing sequential samples (n = 9/16 reported a statistically significant difference), nine reported an increase (n = 5/9 significant) and seven a decrease after treatment (n = 4/7 significant). ...
... an untreated cohort [11,13,17,28,29,31,34,37,41,42,48,51,[54][55][56]60,61,64,68,71,73,75,76,78,83,85,96,100,101,103,104,109,113,[115][116][117]. From the 26 studies comparingsequentially obtained tumor specimens (8/26 reported a statistically significant difference), 18 observed a decrease after treatment (8/18 statistically significant), six an increase and two no change. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Chemotherapy (CT), radiotherapy (RT), and chemoradiotherapy (CRT) are able to alter the composition of the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Understanding the effect of these modalities on the TIME could aid in the development of improved treatment strategies. Our aim was to systematically review studies investigating the influence of CT, RT or CRT on different TIME markers. Methods The EMBASE (Ovid) and PubMed databases were searched until January 2019 for prospective or retrospective studies investigating the dynamics of the local TIME in cancer patients (pts) treated with CT, RT or CRT, with or without targeted agents. Studies could either compare baseline and follow-up specimens - before and after treatment - or a treated versus an untreated cohort. Studies were included if they used immunohistochemistry and/or flow cytometry to assess the TIME. Results In total we included 110 studies (n = 8850 pts), of which n = 89 (n = 6295 pts) compared pre-treatment to post-treatment specimens and n = 25 (n = 2555 pts) a treated versus an untreated cohort (4 studies conducted both comparisons). For several tumor types (among others; breast, cervical, esophageal, ovarian, rectal, lung mesothelioma and pancreatic cancer) remodeling of the TIME was observed, leading to a potentially more immunologically active microenvironment, including one or more of the following: an increase in CD3 or CD8 lymphocytes, a decrease in FOXP3 Tregs and increased PD-L1 expression. Both CT and CRT were able to immunologically alter the TIME. Conclusion The TIME of several tumor types is significantly altered after conventional therapy creating opportunities for concurrent or sequential immunotherapy.
... These inconsistencies may be explained by differences in TILs composition across BC subtypes and by changes in TILs composition induced by neoadjuvant antiHER2-containing treatment. A decrease in FOXP3+ TILs has been described in HER2+ tumors achieving pCR, while an increase in FOXP3+ TILs has been described in HER2+ residual disease [34,35]. Indeed, another study, assessing post-neoadjuvant TILs in 111 HER2+ BC patients treated with chemotherapy+/−trastuzumab, reported that low levels of CD8+ lymphocytes were associated with poor DFS, while low levels of FOXP3 + lymphocytes were associated with better DFS [36]. ...
... However, in the CLEOPATRA trial only a small number of patients was pretreated with trastuzumab (10.9%) and most samples analyzed came from primary tumors (93%). In fact, while in untreated BC TILs are associated with a T-effector phenotype, allegedly reflecting an effective antitumour response, immunogenicity is supposed to decrease in the metastatic setting due to activation of immune-evasion mechanisms and to treatment-induced modifications of TME [35]. Consistently, a recent study which assessed sTILs in metastatic samples from 51 HER2+ BCs, mostly pretreated with HER2-targeted agents, did not observe any favorable impact of high sTILs on OS; indeed, a not statistically significant inverse relationship between TILs and prognosis was observed [50]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence suggests a clear role of the host immune system in HER2+ breast cancer. In addition, HER2+ breast cancer is generally considered more immunogenic than hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/HER2-, and specific molecular HER2+ subgroups (e.g. HER2-enriched disease) are more immunogenic than others (e.g. Luminal A or B). From a clinical perspective, the immune system plays a relevant prognostic role in HER2+ breast cancer and contributes to the therapeutic effects of trastuzumab. However, as more HER2-targeted agents become available, a better understanding of the role played by the immune system in modulating therapy response to different agents will be needed. Furthermore, the recent introduction in oncology of immune checkpoint inhibitors capable of unleashing anti-tumor immune response opens new possibilities for therapeutic combinations in HER2+ breast cancer. Here, we review the current pre-clinical and clinical data on the interplay between the immune system and HER2+ breast cancer, focusing on different HER2-targeted treatments and the biological heterogeneity that exists within HER2+ disease. Finally, we discuss new therapeutic approaches exploiting the immune system to increase activity or revert resistance to HER2-targeted agents. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s40425-019-0548-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Nevertheless, high Treg TIL quantities without CD8+ T cells were not associated with better survival in ER-positive breast cancer patients [63]. Based on the studies to date, further research is needed to clarify the role of Treg cells in tumoral immune response and their interaction with other cell populations present in the tumor [64]. Thus, future studies on their prognostic role in patient samples are necessary to finally determine the clinical importance of Treg cell assessment. ...
Article
Full-text available
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–positive (HER2-positive) breast cancer accounts for 15 to 25% of breast cancer cases. Although therapies based on the use of monoclonal anti-HER2 antibodies present clinical benefit for a subtype of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, more than 50% of them are unresponsive to targeted therapies or they eventually relapse. In recent years, reactivation of the adaptive immune system in patients with solid tumors has emerged as a therapeutic option with great potential for clinical benefit. Since the approval of the first treatment directed against HER2 as a therapeutic target, the range of clinical options has expanded greatly, and, in this sense, cellular immunotherapy with T cells relies on the cytotoxicity generated by these cells, which ultimately leads to antitumor activity. Lymphocytic infiltration of tumors encompasses a heterogeneous population of immune cells within the tumor microenvironment that exhibits distinct patterns of immune activation and exhaustion. The prevalence and prognostic value of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) counts are associated with a favorable prognosis in HER2-positive breast cancers. This review discusses emerging findings that contribute to a better understanding of the role of immune infiltrates in HER2-positive breast cancer. In addition, it summarizes the most recent results in HER2-positive breast cancer immunotherapy and anticipates which therapeutic strategies could be applied in the immediate future.
... The study also showed that increased expression of CCL5 in the tumor correlates with a lower pathological complete response (pCR) to trastuzumab following neoadjuvant therapy. CCL5 is also a potent chemoattractant of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which may also explain the lower pCR response following trastuzumab neoadjuvant therapy [213,214]. ...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most impactful biologics for the treatment of breast cancer is the humanized monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab, which specifically recognizes the HER2/neu (HER2) protein encoded by the ERBB2 gene. Useful for both advanced and early breast cancers, trastuzumab has multiple mechanisms of action. Classical mechanisms attributed to trastuzumab action include cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Recent studies have identified the role of the adaptive immune system in the clinical actions of trastuzumab. Despite the multiple mechanisms of action, many patients demonstrate resistance, primary or adaptive. Newly identified molecular and cellular mechanisms of trastuzumab resistance include induction of immune suppression, vascular mimicry, generation of breast cancer stem cells, deregulation of long non-coding RNAs, and metabolic escape. These newly identified mechanisms of resistance are discussed in detail in this review, particularly considering how they may lead to the development of well-rationalized, patient-tailored combinations that improve patient survival.
... This might be explained by the fact that an increase in FOXP3 levels has been reported in HER2-positive residual disease. An increase in regulatory T-cells in non-pCR samples suggests the development of an immunosuppressive phenotype [36]. ...
Article
Full-text available
A deeper insight into tumor biology and HER2 signaling has led to the development of novel anti-HER2 drugs that have significantly improved the prognosis of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. The breast cancer immune microenvironment has emerged as a potential prognostic factor. Moreover, the host immune system not only seems to play a critical role in the prognosis of HER2-positive breast cancer, but also seems to modulate treatment response to some HER2-targeted agents. Here, we review the latest evidence of the role of immunotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer and present emerging strategies.
... The HER2 oncogene can affect the therapeutic effect of trastuzumab by inducing the expression of PD-L1 and the recruitment and activation of TILs, suggesting that TILs and PD-L1 have been linked to trastuzumab efficacy (9,21,23,31). Several studies have confirmed that TILs and PD-L1 have such predictive values in HER2-positive breast cancer patients, but debate is still ongoing (32)(33)(34). Most of the previous studies have concentrated on the expression of PD-L1 or TILs in tissues before NAT in HER2-positive breast cancer to predict the effectiveness of neoadjuvant therapy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy may affect programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in HER2-positive breast cancer. Discordant results were shown on the correlation between PD-L1 expression or TILs and the effectiveness of neoadjuvant therapy in HER2-positive breast cancer patients. This study aimed to clarify the predictive value of PD-L1 expression and TILs in neoadjuvant therapy in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Methods HER2-positive breast cancer cases receiving neoadjuvant treatment (NAT; n = 155) were retrospectively collected from July 2013 to November 2018. Histopathologic analysis of TILs was performed on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections from pre- and post-NAT specimens. The TIL score as a categorical variable can be divided into high (≥30%) and low (<30%) categories. The expression of PD-L1 was detected by immunohistochemistry, and the percentage of positive membranous staining (at least 1%) in tumor cells (PD-L1+TC) and TILs (PD-L1+TILs) was scored. Results In our study, 87 patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone and 68 received neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy. Multivariate logistic regression analysis confirmed that lymph node metastasis, high TILs, and PD-L1+TILs in pre-neoadjuvant therapy specimens were independent predictors of pathological complete response (pCR) in neoadjuvant therapy ( p < 0.05, for all). Among all patients, TILs were increased in breast cancer tissues post-neoadjuvant therapy ( p < 0.001). Consistent results were found in the subgroup analysis of the trastuzumab plus chemotherapy group and the chemotherapy alone group ( p < 0.05, for both). In 116 non-pCR patients, PD-L1+TC was decreased in breast cancer tissues post-neoadjuvant therapy ( p = 0.0219). Consistent results were found in 43 non-pCR patients who received neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy ( p = 0.0437). However, in 73 non-pCR patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, there was no significant difference in PD-L1+TC expression in pre- and post-neoadjuvant therapy specimens ( p = 0.1465). On the other hand, in the general population, the neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy group, and the neoadjuvant chemotherapy group, PD-L1+TILs decreased after treatment ( p < 0.05, for both). Conclusion Higher TIL counts and PD-L1+TILs in pre-neoadjuvant therapy specimens and lymph node metastasis are independent predictors of pCR in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant therapy. TIL counts, PD-L1+TC, and PD-L1+TILs changed before and after neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy for HER2-positive breast cancer, which may suggest that, in HER2-positive breast cancer, neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy may stimulate the antitumor immune effect of the host, thereby preventing tumor immune escape.
... In HER2+ BC, immune molecules were also reported in association with pCR in neoadjuvant setting (30). In the NeoALLTO trial, in addition to high levels of ERBB2/HER2 and low levels of ESR1, high expression of immune and stroma gene signatures were significantly associated with higher and lower pCR rates, respectively, and should be further explored as candidate predictive markers (31). ...
Article
Full-text available
Immune characteristics were reported correlated to benefit neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in breast cancer, yet integration of comprehensive genomic alterations and T-cell receptors (TCR) to predict efficacy of NAC needs further investigation. This study simultaneously analyzed TMB (Tumor Mutation Burden), TCRs, and TILs (tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) in breast cancers receiving NAC was conducted in a prospective cohort ( n = 22). The next-generation sequencing technology-based analysis of genomic alterations and TCR repertoire in paired breast cancer samples before and after NAC was conducted in a prospective cohort ( n = 22). Fluorescent multiplex immunohistochemistry was used to stain CD4, CD8, PD1, TIM3, and cytokeratins simultaneously in those paired samples. TMB in pretreatment tumor tissues and TCR diversity index are higher in non-pCR patients than in pCR patients (10.6 vs. 2.3; p = 0.043) (2.066 vs. 0.467; p = 0.010). TMB and TCR diversity index had linear correlation ( y = 5.587 x − 0.881; r = 0.522, p = 0.012). Moreover, infiltrating T cells are significantly at higher presence in pCR versus non-pCR patients. Dynamically, the TMB reduced significantly after therapy in non-pCR patients ( p = 0.010) but without TCR index change. The CDR3 peptide AWRSAGNYNEQF is the most highly expressed in pre-NAC samples of pCR patients and in post-NAC samples of non-pCR patients. In addition to pCR, high clonality of TCR and high level of CD8 ⁺ expression are associated with disease-free survival (DFS). TCR index and TMB have significant interaction and may guide neo-adjuvant treatment in operable breast cancers. Response to NAC in tumors with high TCR clonality may be attributable to high infiltration and expansion of tumor-specific CD8 positive effector cells.
... Interestingly, trastuzumab treatment can increase the immune evasive properties of BC cells through the induced secretion of TGF-b, IL-6 and other immunosuppressive cytokines that, in turn, recruit immunosuppressive cells (165,166). Indeed, the presence of a high number of TILs in patients with residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy was associated with worse DFS (167), probably due to an increase in Treg cells (168), indicating that immune-mediated resistance mechanisms need to be inhibited in BC patients to guarantee a good response to HER2-targeted therapy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Breast cancer progression is a complex process controlled by genetic and epigenetic factors that coordinate the crosstalk between tumor cells and the components of tumor microenvironment (TME). Among those, the immune cells play a dual role during cancer onset and progression, as they can protect from tumor progression by killing immunogenic neoplastic cells, but in the meanwhile can also shape tumor immunogenicity, contributing to tumor escape. The complex interplay between cancer and the immune TME influences the outcome of immunotherapy and of many other anti-cancer therapies. Herein, we present an updated view of the pro- and anti-tumor activities of the main immune cell populations present in breast TME, such as T and NK cells, myeloid cells, innate lymphoid cells, mast cells and eosinophils, and of the underlying cytokine-, cell–cell contact- and microvesicle-based mechanisms. Moreover, current and novel therapeutic options that can revert the immunosuppressive activity of breast TME will be discussed. To this end, clinical trials assessing the efficacy of CAR-T and CAR-NK cells, cancer vaccination, immunogenic cell death-inducing chemotherapy, DNA methyl transferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors, cytokines or their inhibitors and other immunotherapies in breast cancer patients will be reviewed. The knowledge of the complex interplay that elapses between tumor and immune cells, and of the experimental therapies targeting it, would help to develop new combination treatments able to overcome tumor immune evasion mechanisms and optimize clinical benefit of current immunotherapies.
... 41 Besides, Tregs were found to be increased in HER-2-positive breast cancer patients who failed to achieve pCR, which displays the development of an immunosuppressive phenotype. 42 Trastuzumab has been reported to modulate immune activity, mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and promote T-cell response. 43 Clinically, data from the PANACEA study (NCT02129556) demonstrated the durable clinical benefit of pembrolizumab plus trastuzumab in patients with PD-L1-positive, trastuzumab-resistant, advanced, HER-2-positive breast cancer. ...
Article
Full-text available
Zhi Bing Liu,1 Luyan Zhang,2 Jia Bian,3 Jinbo Jian1 1Department of Oncology, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong Province 256600, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Oncology, Binzhou People’s Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong Province 256600, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Radiology, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong Province 256600, People’s Republic of ChinaCorrespondence: Jinbo JianDepartment of Oncology, Binzhou Medical University Hospital, Binzhou, Shandong Province 256600, People’s Republic of ChinaEmail jianjinbo123@126.comAbstract: Checkpoint immunotherapy is emerging as a new therapeutic approach for metastatic breast cancer. Monotherapy of immunoagents against PD1/PD-L1 or CTLA-4 has shown little efficacy in these patients. Recently, to determine the optimal use of immunotherapy, there has been a rapid expansion in the number of clinical trials developing immunotherapy combinations. These combination therapeutic approaches can enhance various aspects of cancer immunity, such as tumor antigenicity or intratumor T cell infiltration, which provides a theoretical basis for combining them with checkpoint immunotherapy to achieve synergistic effects. Here, we review the available data and ongoing efforts to establish the safety and efficacy of immunoagents in combination with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, HER2-targeted therapy, CDK4/6 inhibitors, PARP inhibitors, and another checkpoint immunoagents.Keywords: immunotherapy, breast, cancer, combination
... Of note, anti-HER2 drugs such as trastuzumab may upregulate PD-L1 in cancer cells and activate immune cells with IFNγ secretion causing a trastuzumab resistance [57]. Similarly, a study of Martinez et al. demonstrated that the tumor immune evasion may cause a resistance to anti-HER2 treatment modalities [115] while Force et al. showed that HER2-positive breast cancers that are resistant to chemotherapy exhibit an immunosuppressive phenotype (CD4+/FoxP3+ T-cells/T-regulatory cells/) [116]. ...
Article
Breast cancer was traditionally not considered a particularly immunogenic tumor. However, recent developments have shown that some aggressive triple-negative breast cancers are immunogenic, exhibit a resistance to chemotherapy and have a poor prognosis. These cancers have been shown to express molecules identified as targets for immunotherapy. Despite the advances, the challenges are many, and include identifying the patients that may benefit from immunotherapy. The best methods to analyze these samples and to evaluate immunogenicity are also major challenges. Therefore, the most accurate and reliable assessment of immune cells as potential targets is one of the most important aims in the current research in breast immunotherapy. In the present review, we briefly discuss the mechanisms of the regulation of checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1/PD-L1) in breast cancer and explore the predictive aspects in the PD-L1 testing.
... Subversion of trastuzumab-mediated effects: the tumour immune set point Clinical data compellingly demonstrate that the immunological status of tumours has a major bearing on the activity of trastuzumab. An inferior response to trastuzumab was seen in HER2-positive breast cancer patients with high levels of infiltrating immunosuppressive regulatory T cells, 45 high expression of CD73 46 and expression of the immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand PD-L1. 47 Although analogous clinical data for the response to T-DM1 remain limited, combination therapy with T-DM1 and therapeutic antibodies against both PD-L1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4, another immune checkpoint protein) in the Fo5 HER2-overexpressing transgenic mouse model markedly increased efficacy relative to monotherapy. ...
Article
Full-text available
The HER2-targeted antibody–drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) is approved for the treatment of metastatic, HER2-positive breast cancer after prior trastuzumab and taxane therapy, and has also demonstrated efficacy in the adjuvant setting in incomplete responders to neoadjuvant therapy. Despite its objective activity, intrinsic and acquired resistance to T-DM1 remains a major clinical challenge. T-DM1 mediates its activity in a number of ways, encompassing HER2 signalling blockade, Fc-mediated immune response and payload-mediated microtubule poisoning. Resistance mechanisms relating to each of these features have been demonstrated, and we outline the findings of these studies in this review. In our overview of the substantial literature on T-DM1 activity and resistance, we conclude that the T-DM1 resistance mechanisms most strongly supported by the experimental data relate to dysfunctional intracellular metabolism of the construct and subversion of DM1-mediated cell killing. Loss of dependence on signalling initiated by HER2–HER2 homodimers is not substantiated as a resistance mechanism by clinical or experimental studies, and the impact of EGFR expression and tumour immunological status requires further investigation. These findings are instructive with respect to strategies that might overcome T-DM1 resistance, including the use of second-generation anti-HER2 antibody–drug conjugates that deploy alternative linker-payload chemistries.
... 17,37 Recent evidence also demonstrated increased Tregs in HER2-positive breast cancer patients who failed to achieve pCR suggesting the development of an immunosuppressive phenotype. 141 Overall, these findings encouraged clinical trials utilizing checkpoint blocking immunotherapy in combination with anti-HER2 treatments in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. ...
... In human patients, increased frequency of Tregs during trastuzumab therapy coincided with disease progression (57,58). In addition, recent clinical observations indicate that early-stage HER2-positive breast cancers that did not react with neoadjuvant combinations such as docetaxel, carboplatin, and trastuzumab with or without pertuzumab demonstrate an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment phenotypes, and this phenotypic change involves CD4 + and FoxP3 + cells that represent the Treg population (59). Thus, targeting Tregs during anti-p185 erbB2 targeted therapy may represent a therapeutic benefit to erbB2 driven breast cancer patients. ...
Article
Full-text available
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a subpopulation of T cells that are specialized in suppressing immune responses. Here we show that the arginine methyl transferase protein PRMT5 can complex with FOXP3 transcription factors in Tregs. Mice with conditional knock out (cKO) of PRMT5 expression in Tregs develop severe scurfy-like autoimmunity. In these PRMT5 cKO mice, the spleen has reduced numbers of Tregs, but normal numbers of Tregs are found in the peripheral lymph nodes. These peripheral Tregs that lack PRMT5, however, display a limited suppressive function. Mass spectrometric analysis showed that FOXP3 can be di-methylated at positions R27, R51, and R146. A point mutation of Arginine (R) 51 to Lysine (K) led to defective suppressive functions in human CD4 T cells. Pharmacological inhibition of PRMT5 by DS-437 also reduced human Treg functions and inhibited the methylation of FOXP3. In addition, DS-437 significantly enhanced the anti-tumor effects of anti-erbB2/neu monoclonal antibody targeted therapy in Balb/c mice bearing CT26Her2 tumors by inhibiting Treg function and induction of tumor immunity. Controlling PRMT5 activity is a promising strategy for cancer therapy in situations where host immunity against tumors is attenuated in a FOXP3 dependent manner.
... 17,37 Recent evidence also demonstrated increased Tregs in HER2-positive breast cancer patients who failed to achieve pCR suggesting the development of an immunosuppressive phenotype. 141 Overall, these findings encouraged clinical trials utilizing checkpoint blocking immunotherapy in combination with anti-HER2 treatments in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. ...
Article
Full-text available
Cancer immunotherapy has evolved dramatically with improved understanding of immune microenvironment and immunosurveillance. The immunogenicity of breast cancer is rather heterogeneous. Specific subtypes of breast cancer such as estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, human EGF receptor 2 (HER2)-positive, and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have shown evidence of immunogenicity based on tumor–immune interactions. Several preclinical and clinical studies have explored the potential for immunotherapy to improve the clinical outcomes for different subtypes of breast cancer. This review describes the immune microenvironment of HER2-positive breast cancer and summarizes recent clinical advances of immunotherapeutic treatments in this breast cancer subtype. The review provides rationale and ongoing clinical evidence to the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors, therapeutic vaccines, and adoptive T cell immunotherapy in breast cancer. In addition, the present paper describes the most relevant clinical progress of strategies for the combination of immunotherapy with standard treatment modalities in HER2-positive breast cancer including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiotherapy. Keywords: immunotherapy, breast cancer, HER2, checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines
Article
Full-text available
Purpose High levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are associated with better outcomes in early breast cancer and higher pathological response rates to neoadjuvant chemotherapy especially in the triple-negative (TNBC) and HER2+ subtypes. However, the dynamic changes in TILs levels after neoadjuvant treatment (NAT) are less studied. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the patterns and role of TILs dynamics change in early breast cancer patients receiving NAT. Methods Medline, Embase, Web of Science Core Collection and PubMed Central databases were searched for eligible studies. Data were extracted independently by two researchers and discordances were resolved by a third. Pooled TILs rates pre- & post-treatment (overall and per subtype), pooled rates of ΔTILs and direction of change after NAT as well as correlation of ΔTILs with survival outcomes were generated in the outcome analysis. Results Of 2116 identified entries, 34 studies fulfilled the criteria and provided adequate data for the outcomes of interest. A decreased level of TILs was observed after NAT in paired samples across all subtypes. The effect of NAT on TILs was most prominent in TNBC subtype with a substantial change, either increase or decrease, in 79.3% (95% CI 61.7-92.6%) of the patients as well as in HER2+ disease (14.4% increased vs 46.2% decreased). An increase in ΔTILs in TNBC was associated with better disease-free/relapse-free survival in pooled analysis (univariate HR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.37–0.95, p = 0.03). Conclusion This meta-analysis illustrates the TILs dynamics during NAT for breast cancer and indicates prognostic implications of ΔTILs in TNBC. The potential clinical utility of the longitudinal assessment of TILs during neoadjuvant therapy warrants further validation.
Article
Full-text available
About 50% of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)+ breast cancer patients do not benefit from HER2-targeted therapy and almost 20% of them relapse after treatment. Here, we conduct a detailed analysis of two independent cohorts of HER2+ breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab to elucidate the mechanisms of resistance to anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies. In addition, we develop a fully humanized immunocompetent model of HER2+ breast cancer recapitulating ex vivo the biological processes that associate with patients’ response to treatment. Thanks to these two approaches, we uncover a population of TGF-beta-activated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) specific from tumors resistant to therapy. The presence of this cellular subset related to previously described myofibroblastic (CAF-S1) and podoplanin+ CAF subtypes in breast cancer associates with low IL2 activity. Correspondingly, we find that stroma-targeted stimulation of IL2 pathway in unresponsive tumors restores trastuzumab anti-cancer efficiency. Overall, our study underscores the therapeutic potential of exploiting the tumor microenvironment to identify and overcome mechanisms of resistance to anti-cancer treatment.
Article
Full-text available
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have a prominent role in the control of immune homeostasis. Pharmacological impact on their activity or balance with effector T cells could contribute to (impaired) clinical responses or adverse events. Monitoring treatment-related effects on T cell subsets may therefore be part of (pre-)clinical studies for medicinal products. However, the extent of immune monitoring performed in studies for marketing authorisation and the degree of correspondence with data available in the public domain is not known. We evaluated the presence of T cell immunomonitoring in 46 registration dossiers of monoclonal antibodies indicated for immune-related disorders and published scientific papers. We found that the depth of Treg analysis in registration dossiers was rather small. Nevertheless, data on treatment-related Treg effects are available in public academia-driven studies (post-registration) and suggest that Tregs may act as a biomarker for clinical responses. However, public data are fragmented and obtained with heterogeneity of experimental approaches from a diversity of species and tissues. To reveal the potential added value of T cell (and particular Treg) evaluation in (pre-)clinical studies, more cell-specific data should be acquired, at least for medicinal products with an immunomodulatory mechanism. Therefore, extensive analysis of T cell subset contribution to clinical responses and the relevance of treatment-induced changes in their levels is needed. Preferably, industry and academia should work together to obtain these data in a standardised manner and to enrich our knowledge about T cell activity in disease pathogenesis and therapies. This will ultimately elucidate the necessity of T cell subset monitoring in the therapeutic benefit-risk assessment.
Article
Introduction: Statins induce heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression in vitro and in vivo. Low HO-1 expression is associated with pregnancy complications, e.g. preeclampsia and recurrent miscarriages. Here, we investigated the effects of pravastatin on HO-1 expression, placental development, and fetal survival in mice with a partial HO-1 deficiency. Methods: At E14.5, untreated pregnant wild-type (WT, n=13-18), untreated HO-1+/- (Het, n=6-9), and Het mice treated with pravastatin (Het+Pravastatin, n=12-14) were sacrificed. Numbers of viable fetuses/resorbed concepti were recorded. Maternal livers and placentas were harvested for HO activity. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and CD31 immunohistochemical staining were performed on whole placentas. Results: Compared with WT, HO activity in Het livers (65±18%, P<0.001) and placentas (74±7%, P<0.001) were significantly decreased. Number of viable fetuses per dam was significantly lower in Untreated Het dams (6.0±2.2) compared with WT (9.1±1.4, P<0.01), accompanied by a higher relative risk (RR) for concepti resorption (17.1, 95% CI 4.0-73.2). In Hets treated with pravastatin, maternal liver and placental HO activity increased, approaching levels of WT controls (to 83±7% and 87±14%, respectively). The number of viable fetuses per dam increased to 7.7±2.5 with a decreased RR for concepti resorption (2.7, 95% CI 1.2-5.9). In some surviving Untreated Het placentas, there were focal losses of cellular architecture and changes suggestive of reduced blood flow in the labyrinth. These findings were absent in Het+Pravastatin placentas. Discussion: Pravastatin induces maternal liver and placental HO activity, may affect placental function and improve fetal survival in the context of a partial deficiency of HO-1.
Article
Full-text available
Background Not all breast cancer patients benefit from neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy, resulting in considerable undertreatment or overtreatment. New insights into the role of tumor-infiltrating immune cells suggest that their composition, as well as their functionality, might serve as a biomarker to enable optimal patient selection for current systemic therapies and upcoming treatment options such as immunotherapy. Methods We performed several complementary unbiased in silico analyses on gene expression profiles of 7270 unrelated tumor samples of nonmetastatic breast cancer patients with known clinical follow-up. CIBERSORT was used to estimate the fraction of 22 immune cell types to study their relations with pathological complete response (pCR), disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS). In addition, we used four previously reported immune gene signatures and a CD8+ T-cell exhaustion signature to assess their relationships with breast cancer outcome. Multivariable binary logistic regression and multivariable Cox regression were used to assess the association of immune cell–type fractions and immune signatures with pCR and DFS/OS, respectively. Results Increased fraction of regulatory T-cells in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–positive tumors was associated with a lower pCR rate (odds ratio [OR] = 0.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.03 to 0.69), as well as shorter DFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.13, 95% CI = 1.23 to 7.98) and OS (HR = 7.69, 95% CI = 3.43 to 17.23). A higher fraction of M0 macrophages in estrogen receptor (ER)–positive tumors was associated with worse DFS (HR = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.18 to 2.33) and, in ER-positive/HER2-negative tumors, with worse OS (HR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.12 to 2.61). Increased fractions of γδ T-cells in all breast cancer patients related to a higher pCR rate (OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.01 to 2.38), prolonged DFS (HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.48 to 0.98), and, in HER2-positive tumors, with prolonged OS (HR = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.10 to 0.73). A higher fraction of activated mast cells was associated with worse DFS (HR = 5.85, 95% CI = 2.20 to 15.54) and OS (HR = 5.33, 95% CI = 2.04 to 13.91) in HER2-positive tumors. The composition of relevant immune cell types frequently differed per breast cancer subtype. Furthermore, a high CD8+ T-cell exhaustion signature score was associated with shortened DFS in patients with ER-positive tumors regardless of HER2 status (HR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.07 to 3.04). Conclusions The main hypothesis generated in our unbiased in silico approach is that a multitude of immune cells are related to treatment response and outcome in breast cancer.
Article
Full-text available
Antibodies targeting T-cell inhibitory pathways, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1, are emerging as an important class of cancer therapeutics, and a next generation of immunomodulatory therapies targeting alternative inhibitory (e.g. TIM-3, LAG-3, B7-H4, B7-H3, VISTA, A2aR), as well as co-stimulatory (e.g. CD27, OX40, GITR, CD137), pathways are poised to join them. Most of these immunomodulatory antibodies are of IgG isotypes that have low, or no, binding to the Fc gamma receptors (FcγRs) that trigger cell-mediated cytotoxic effector functions such as antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and phagocytosis (ADCP). These isotypes were selected to minimise the risk of depleting the T cells upon which such antibodies depend for their mechanism of action. However, recent preclinical data highlight a potential role for FcγR engagement in the activity of such antibodies. Here we review the biology of the FcγRs and IgG isotypes in both humans and mice, detail the potential roles that FcγR interactions can play in the activity of monoclonal antibodies in general, and of immunomodulatory antibodies in particular, and discuss how preclinical studies on these interactions might be best interpreted and translated to a human setting.
Article
Full-text available
In our randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial NeOAdjuvant Herceptin (NOAH) trial in women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer, neoadjuvant trastuzumab significantly improved pathological complete response rate and event-free survival. We report updated results from our primary analysis to establish the long-term benefit of trastuzumab-containing neoadjuvant therapy. We did this multicentre, open-label, randomised trial in women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1), by computer program with a minimisation technique, to receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone or with 1 year of trastuzumab (concurrently with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and continued after surgery). A parallel group with HER2-negative disease was included and received neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone. Our primary endpoint was event-free survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered at www.controlled-trials.com, ISRCTN86043495. Between June 20, 2002, and Dec 12, 2005, we enrolled 235 patients with HER2-positive disease, of whom 118 received chemotherapy alone and 117 received chemotherapy plus trastuzumab. 99 additional patients with HER2-negative disease were included in the parallel cohort. After a median follow-up of 5·4 years (IQR 3·1-6·8) the event-free-survival benefit from the addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy was maintained in patients with HER2-positive disease. 5 year event-free survival was 58% (95% CI 48-66) in patients in the trastuzumab group and 43% (34-52) in those in the chemotherapy group; the unadjusted hazard ratio (HR) for event-free survival between the two randomised HER2-positive treatment groups was 0·64 (95% CI 0·44-0·93; two-sided log-rank p=0·016). Event-free survival was strongly associated with pathological complete remission in patients given trastuzumab. Of the 68 patients with a pathological complete response (45 with trastuzumab and 23 with chemotherapy alone), the HR for event-free survival between those with and without trastuzumab was 0·29 (95% CI 0·11-0·78). During follow-up only four cardiovascular adverse events were regarded by the investigator to be drug-related (grade 2 lymphostasis and grade 2 lymphoedema, each in one patient in the trastuzumab group, and grade 2 thrombosis and grade 2 deep vein thrombosis, each in one patient in the chemotherapy-alone group). These results show a sustained benefit in event-free survival from trastuzumab-containing neoadjuvant therapy followed by adjuvant trastuzumab in patients with locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer, and provide new insight into the association between pathological complete remission and long-term outcomes in HER2-positive disease. F Hoffmann-La Roche.
Article
Full-text available
The monoclonal antibody trastuzumab has survival benefit when given with chemotherapy to patients with early, operable, and metastatic breast cancer that has HER2 (also known as ERBB2) overexpression or amplification. We aimed to assess event-free survival in patients with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without 1 year of trastuzumab. We compared 1 year of treatment with trastuzumab (given as neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment; n=117) with no trastuzumab (118), in women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer treated with a neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimen consisting of doxorubicin, paclitaxel, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil. Randomisation was done with a computer program and minimisation technique, taking account of geographical area, disease stage, and hormone receptor status. Investigators were informed of treatment allocation. A parallel cohort of 99 patients with HER2-negative disease was included and treated with the same chemotherapy regimen. Primary endpoint was event-free survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered, number ISRCTN86043495. Trastuzumab significantly improved event-free survival in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer (3-year event-free survival, 71% [95% CI 61-78; n=36 events] with trastuzumab, vs 56% [46-65; n=51 events] without; hazard ratio 0.59 [95% CI 0.38-0.90]; p=0.013). Trastuzumab was well tolerated and, despite concurrent administration with doxorubicin, only two patients (2%) developed symptomatic cardiac failure. Both responded to cardiac drugs. The addition of neoadjuvant and adjuvant trastuzumab to neoadjuvant chemotherapy should be considered for women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer to improve event-free survival, survival, and clinical and pathological tumour responses. F Hoffmann-La Roche.
Article
Full-text available
To create the enormous diversity of 10(12) immunoglobulins (IG) and T cell receptors (TR) per individual, very complex mechanisms occur at the DNA level: the combinatorial diversity results from the junction of the variable (V), diversity (D) and joining (J) genes; the N-diversity represents the addition at random of nucleotides not encoded in the genome; and somatic hypermutations occur in IG rearranged sequences. The accurate annotation of the junction between V, D, J genes in rearranged IG and TR sequences represents therefore a huge challenge by its uniqueness and complexity. We developed IMGT/JunctionAnalysis to analyse automatically in detail the IG and TR junctions, according to the IMGT Scientific chart rules, based on the IMGT-ONTOLOGY concepts. IMGT/JunctionAnalysis is the first tool for the detailed analysis of the IG and TR complex V-J and V-D-J JUNCTION(s). It delimits, at the nucleotide level, the genes resulting from the combinatorial diversity. It identifies accurately the D genes in the junctions of IG heavy (IGH), TR beta (TRB) and delta (TRD) chains. It delimits the palindromic P-REGION(s) and the N-REGION(s) resulting from the N-diversity. It evaluates the number of somatic hypermutations for each gene, within the JUNCTION. IMGT/JunctionAnalysis is capable of analysing, in a single run, an unlimited number of junctions from the same species (currently human or mouse) and from the same locus. IMGT/JunctionAnalysis is available from the IMGT Home page at http://imgt.cines.fr
Article
Background: In the primary analysis of the NeoSphere trial, patients given neoadjuvant pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and docetaxel showed a significantly improved pathological complete response compared with those given trastuzumab and docetaxel after surgery. Here, we report 5-year progression-free survival, disease-free survival, and safety. Methods: In this multicentre, open-label, phase 2 randomised trial in hospitals and medical clinics, treatment-naive adults with locally advanced, inflammatory, or early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) to receive four neoadjuvant cycles of trastuzumab (8 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 6 mg/kg every 3 weeks) plus docetaxel (75 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks, increasing to 100 mg/m(2) from cycle 2 if tolerated; group A), pertuzumab (840 mg loading dose, followed by 420 mg every 3 weeks) and trastuzumab plus docetaxel (group B), pertuzumab and trastuzumab (group C), or pertuzumab and docetaxel (group D). After surgery, patients received three cycles of FEC (fluorouracil 600 mg/m(2), epirubicin 90 mg/m(2), and cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m(2)) every 3 weeks (patients in group C received four cycles of docetaxel prior to FEC), and trastuzumab 6 mg/kg every 3 weeks to complete 1 year's treatment (17 cycles in total). Randomisation was done by a central centre using dynamic allocation, stratified by operable, locally advanced, and inflammatory breast cancer, and by oestrogen and/or progesterone receptor positivity. Safety analyses were done according to treatment received. The primary endpoint (pathological complete response) was previously reported; secondary endpoints reported here are 5-year progression-free survival (analysed in the intention-to-treat population) and disease-free survival (analysed in patients who had surgery). Secondary and exploratory analyses were not powered for formal statistical hypothesis testing, and therefore results are for descriptive purposes only. The study ended on Sept 22, 2014 (last patient, last visit). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00545688. Findings: Between Dec 17, 2007, and Dec 22, 2009, 417 eligible patients were randomly assigned to group A (107 patients), group B (107 patients), group C (107 patients), or group D (96 patients). One patient in group A withdrew before treatment. One patient assigned to group D received group A treatment, one patient assigned to group D received group B treatment, and one patient assigned to group B received group C treatment. At clinical cutoff, 87 patients had progressed or died. 5-year progression-free survival rates were 81% (95% CI 71-87) for group A, 86% (77-91) for group B, 73% (64-81) for group C, and 73% (63-81) for group D (hazard ratios 0·69 [95% CI 0·34-1·40] group B vs group A, 1·25 [0·68-2·30] group C vs group A, and 2·05 [1·07-3·93] group D vs group B). Disease-free survival results were consistent with progression-free survival results and were 81% (95% CI 72-88) for group A, 84% (72-91) for group B, 80% (70-86) for group C, and 75% (64-83) for group D. Patients who achieved total pathological complete response (all groups combined) had longer progression-free survival compared with patients who did not (85% [76-91] in patients who achieved total pathological response vs 76% [71-81] in patients who did not achieve total pathological response; hazard ratio 0·54 [95% CI 0·29-1·00]). There were no new or long-term safety concerns and tolerability was similar across groups (neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment periods combined). The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events were neutropenia (group A: 71 [66%] of 107 patients; group B: 59 [55%] of 107; group C: 40 [37%] of 108; group D: 60 [64%] of 94), febrile neutropenia (group A: 10 [9%]; group B: 12 [11%]; group C: 5 [5%]; group D: 15 [16%]), and leucopenia (group A: 13 [12%]; group B: 6 [6%]; group C: 4 [4%]; group D: 8 [9%]). The number of patients with one or more serious adverse event was similar across groups (19-22 serious adverse events per group in 18-22% of patients). Interpretation: Progression-free survival and disease-free survival at 5-year follow-up show large and overlapping CIs, but support the primary endpoint (pathological complete response) and suggest that neoadjuvant pertuzumab is beneficial when combined with trastuzumab and docetaxel. Additionally, they suggest that total pathological complete response could be an early indicator of long-term outcome in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. Funding: F Hoffmann-La Roche.
Article
T and B cell receptor loci undergo combinatorial rearrangement, generating a diverse immune receptor repertoire, which is vital for recognition of potential antigens. Here we use a multiplex PCR with a mixture of primers targeting the rearranged variable and joining segments to capture receptor diversity. Differential hybridization kinetics can introduce significant amplification biases that alter the composition of sequence libraries prepared by multiplex PCR. Using a synthetic immune receptor repertoire, we identify and minimize such biases and computationally remove residual bias after sequencing. We apply this method to a multiplex T cell receptor gamma sequencing assay. To demonstrate accuracy in a biological setting, we apply the method to monitor minimal residual disease in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia patients. A similar methodology can be extended to any adaptive immune locus.
Article
Studies with pertuzumab, a novel anti-HER2 antibody, show improved efficacy when combined with the established HER2-directed antibody trastuzumab in breast cancer therapy. We investigated the combination of pertuzumab or trastuzumab, or both, with docetaxel and the combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab without chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting. In this multicentre, open-label, phase 2 study, treatment-naive women with HER2-positive breast cancer were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) centrally and stratified by operable, locally advanced, and inflammatory breast cancer, and by hormone receptor expression to receive four neoadjuvant cycles of: trastuzumab (8 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 6 mg/kg every 3 weeks) plus docetaxel (75 mg/m(2), escalating, if tolerated, to 100 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks; group A) or pertuzumab (loading dose 840 mg, followed by 420 mg every 3 weeks) and trastuzumab plus docetaxel (group B) or pertuzumab and trastuzumab (group C) or pertuzumab plus docetaxel (group D). The primary endpoint, examined in the intention-to-treat population, was pathological complete response in the breast. Neither patients nor investigators were masked to treatment. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00545688. Of 417 eligible patients, 107 were randomly assigned to group A, 107 to group B, 107 to group C, and 96 to group D. Patients given pertuzumab and trastuzumab plus docetaxel (group B) had a significantly improved pathological complete response rate (49 of 107 patients; 45·8% [95% CI 36·1-55·7]) compared with those given trastuzumab plus docetaxel (group A; 31 of 107; 29·0% [20·6-38·5]; p=0·0141). 23 of 96 (24·0% [15·8-33·7]) women given pertuzumab plus docetaxel (group D) had a pathological complete response, as did 18 of 107 (16·8% [10·3-25·3]) given pertuzumab and trastuzumab (group C). The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were neutropenia (61 of 107 women in group A, 48 of 107 in group B, one of 108 in group C, and 52 of 94 in group D), febrile neutropenia (eight, nine, none, and seven, respectively), and leucopenia (13, five, none, and seven, respectively). The number of serious adverse events was similar in groups A, B, and D (15-20 serious adverse events per group in 10-17% of patients) but lower in group C (four serious adverse events in 4% of patients). Patients given pertuzumab and trastuzumab plus docetaxel (group B) had a significantly improved pathological complete response rate compared with those given trastuzumab plus docetaxel, without substantial differences in tolerability. Pertuzumab and trastuzumab without chemotherapy eradicated tumours in a proportion of women and showed a favourable safety profile. These findings justify further exploration in adjuvant trials and support the neoadjuvant approach for accelerating drug assessment in early breast cancer. F Hoffmann-La Roche.