Fulvestrant-mediated attenuation of the innate immune response decreases ER+ breast cancer growth in vivo more effectively than tamoxifen.

Abrahamsson A, Vazquez Rodriguez G, Dabrosin C

Cancer Res. - (-) - [2020-08-27; online 2020-08-27]

Although blocking estrogen-dependent signaling is a cornerstone of adjuvant treatment for breast cancer, 25% of patients experience recurrent disease. Stroma events including innate immune responses are key in cancer progression. How different estrogen receptor (ER)-targeting therapies, including the partial agonist tamoxifen and the pure antagonist fulvestrant, affect the tumor stroma has not yet been elucidated. Fulvestrant is only used in postmenopausal patients and its effects in the presence of estradiol remain undetermined. Here we observe that fulvestrant decreases ER+ breast cancer growth compared to tamoxifen in the presence of physiological levels of estradiol in human breast cancer in nude mice and in murine breast cancer in immune competent mice. Fulvestrant significantly inhibited macrophage and neutrophil infiltration in both models. These effects were corroborated in a zebrafish model where fulvestrant inhibited neutrophil- and macrophage-dependent cancer cell dissemination more effectively than tamoxifen. A comprehensive analysis of 234 human proteins released into the cancer microenvironment by the cancer cells sampled via microdialysis in vivo revealed that 38 proteins were altered following both treatments; 25 of these proteins were associated with immune response and were altered by fulvestrant only. Compared to tamoxifen, fulvestrant significantly affected inflammatory proteins released by murine stroma cells. Importantly, in vivo microdialysis of human ER+ breast cancer revealed that the majority of affected proteins in murine models were upregulated in patients. Together these results suggest that fulvestrant targets ER+ breast cancer more effectively than tamoxifen even in presence of estradiol, mainly by attenuation of the innate immune response.

NGI Uppsala (Uppsala Genome Center) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

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PubMed 32855207

DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-1705

Crossref 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-1705

pii: 0008-5472.CAN-20-1705