Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with mesenchymal stem-like (MSL) subtype have responded poorly to chemotherapy whereas patients with basal-like 1 (BL1) subtype achieved the best clinical response. In order to gain insight into pathways that may contribute to the divergent sensitivity to chemotherapy, we compared the inflammatory profile of the two TNBC subtypes treated with docetaxel. Cellular signaling analysis determined that docetaxel activated MAPK pathway in MSL TNBCs but not BL1 TNBCs. The subsequent MAPK pathway activation in MSL TNBCs led to an IL-1A mediated cascade of autocrine inflammatory mediators including IL-6. Utilizing the humanized IL-6R antibody, tocilizumab, our in vitro and in vivo data show that MSL TNBCs treated with tocilizumab together with chemotherapy results in delayed tumor progression compared to MSL TNBCs treated with docetaxel alone. Our study highlights a molecular subset of TNBC that may be responsive to tocilizumab therapy for potential translational impact.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Pharmacology (medical)