Genetic ancestry–dependent differences in breast cancer–induced field defects in the tumor-adjacent normal breast

Harikrishna Nakshatri, Brijesh Kumar, Heather N. Burney, Mary L. Cox, Max Jacobsen, George E. Sandusky, Crislyn D'Souza-Schorey, Anna Maria V. Storniolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Genetic ancestry influences evolutionary pathways of cancers. However, whether ancestry influences cancer-induced field defects is unknown. The goal of this study was to utilize ancestry-mapped true normal breast tissues as controls to identify cancer-induced field defects in normal tissue adjacent to breast tumors (NATs) in women of African American (AA) and European (EA) ancestry. Experimental Design: A tissue microarray comprising breast tissues of ancestry-mapped 100 age-matched healthy women from the Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) at Indiana University (Indianapolis, IN) and tumor-NAT pairs from 100 women (300 samples total) was analyzed for the levels of ZEB1, an oncogenic transcription factor that is central to cell fate, mature luminal cell–enriched estrogen receptor alpha (ERa), GATA3, FOXA1, and for immune cell composition. Results: ZEB1þ cells, which were localized surrounding the ductal structures of the normal breast, were enriched in the KTB-normal of AA compared with KTB-normal of EA women. In contrast, in EA women, both NATs and tumors compared with KTB-normal contained higher levels of ZEB1þ cells. FOXA1 levels were lower in NATs compared with KTB-normal in AA but not in EA women. We also noted variations in the levels of GATA3, CD8þ T cells, PD1þ immune cells, and PDL1þ cell but not CD68þ macrophages in NATs of AA and EA women. ERa levels did not change in any of our analyses, pointing to the specificity of ancestry-dependent variations. Conclusions: Genetic ancestry–mapped tissues from healthy individuals are required for proper assessment and development of cancer-induced field defects as early cancer detection markers. This finding is significant in light of recent discoveries of influence of genetic ancestry on both normal biology and tumor evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2848-2859
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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