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Oncotarget. 2018 Sep 14;9(72):33719-33733. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.26120. eCollection 2018 Sep 14.

Predictive and prognostic role of peripheral blood eosinophil count in triple-negative and hormone receptor-negative/HER2-positive breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant treatment.

Onesti CE1,2,3, Josse C1,2,3, Poncin A1,2,3, Frères P1,2,3, Poulet C1, Bours V1,4, Jerusalem G2,3.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Human Genetics, GIGA Research Institute, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.
2
Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospital (CHU Liège), Liège, Belgium.
3
Laboratory of Medical Oncology, GIGA Research Institute, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.
4
Department of Human Genetics, University Hospital (CHU Liège), Liège, Belgium.

Abstract

In current clinical practices, up to 27% of all breast cancer patients receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy. High pathological complete response rate is frequently associated with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Additionally, circulating immune cells are also often linked to chemotherapy response. We performed a retrospective analysis on a cohort of 112 breast cancer patients (79 triple-negative, 33 hormone receptor-negative/HER2-positive) treated with standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Eosinophil and lymphocyte counts were collected from whole blood at baseline and during follow-ups and their associations with pathological complete response, relapse, disease-free and breast cancer-specific survival were analyzed. We observed a higher pathological complete response rate in patients who presented at baseline a relative eosinophil count ≥ 1.5% (55.6%) than in those with a relative eosinophil count < 1.5% (36.2%)(p = 0.04). An improvement in breast cancer-specific survival in patients with high relative eosinophil count (p = 0.05; HR = 0.336; 95% CI = 0.107-1.058) or with high relative lymphocyte count (threshold = 17.5%, p = 0.01; HR = 0.217; 95% CI = 0.060-0.783) were also observed. Upon combining the two parameters into the eosinophil x lymphocyte product with a threshold at 35.8, associations with pathological complete response (p = 0.002), relapse (p = 0.028), disease-free survival (p = 0.012) and breast cancer-specific survival (p = 0.001) were also recorded. In conclusion, the relative eosinophil count and eosinophil x lymphocyte product could be promising, affordable and accessible new biomarkers that are predictive for neoadjuvant chemotherapy response and prognostic for longer survival in triple-negative and hormone receptors-negative/HER2-positive breast cancers. Confirmation of these results in a larger patient population is needed.

KEYWORDS:

HER2-positive breast cancer; eosinophil; neoadjuvant therapy; pathological complete response; triple-negative breast cancer

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