NPJ Breast Cancer 7 (1) 144 [2021-11-19; online 2021-11-19]
Emerging data indicate that genomic alterations can shape immune cell composition in early breast cancer. However, there is a need for complementary imaging and sequencing methods for the quantitative assessment of combined somatic copy number alteration (SCNA) and immune profiling in pathological samples. Here, we tested the feasibility of three approaches-CUTseq, for high-throughput low-input SCNA profiling, multiplexed fluorescent immunohistochemistry (mfIHC) and digital-image analysis (DIA) for quantitative immuno-profiling- in archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples from patients enrolled in the randomized SBG-2004-1 phase II trial. CUTseq was able to reproducibly identify amplification and deletion events with a resolution of 100 kb using only 6 ng of DNA extracted from FFPE tissue and pooling together 77 samples into the same sequencing library. In the same samples, mfIHC revealed that CD4 + T-cells and CD68 + macrophages were the most abundant immune cells and they mostly expressed PD-L1 and PD-1. Combined analysis showed that the SCNA burden was inversely associated with lymphocytic infiltration. Our results set the basis for further applications of CUTseq, mfIHC and DIA to larger cohorts of early breast cancer patients.