Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease in women. An important pillar of treatment of breast cancer overexpressing the growth factor receptor HER2/neu, which accounts for 15-20% of tumours, is classical chemotherapy in combination with antibodies targeting HER2/neu, like trastuzumab and pertuzumab. Use of these antibodies leads, among other effects, to antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). This is a mechanism of cellular immune reaction whereby an effector cell, such as a T-cell, kills a target cell with specific antibodies bound to surface antigens.
In the interdisciplinary project “Breast Cancer Immunotherapy immunoProfiling”, a collaboration of the Women’s Hospital at the UKSH Kiel with the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, we investigate how such a treatment affects the T-cell repertoire — the collective of all T-cells in the body.
We will use established T-cell genetic library preparation methods on blood samples collected from breast cancer patients undergoing immunochemotherapy. Next-generation sequencing methods will be used for sequencing of the genetic material. Then, we will perform a detailed analysis of the sequencing data using both established and newly developed bioinformatical pipelines and methods.