Fibroblast Heterogeneity and Immunosuppressive Environment in Human Breast Cancer

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Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) are key players in the tumor microenvironment. Here, we characterize four CAF subsets in breast cancer with distinct properties and levels of activation. Two myofibroblastic subsets (CAF-S1, CAF-S4) accumulate differentially in triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). CAF-S1 fibroblasts promote an immunosuppressive environment through a multi-step mechanism. By secreting CXCL12, CAF-S1 attracts CD4+CD25+ T lymphocytes and retains them by OX40L, PD-L2, and JAM2. Moreover, CAF-S1 increases T lymphocyte survival and promotes their differentiation into CD25HighFOXP3High, through B7H3, CD73, and DPP4. Finally, in contrast to CAF-S4, CAF-S1 enhances the regulatory T cell capacity to inhibit T effector proliferation. These data are consistent with FOXP3+ T lymphocyte accumulation in CAF-S1-enriched TNBC and show how a CAF subset contributes to immunosuppression. Costa et al. identify four subsets of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) in breast cancer. CAF-S1 promotes an immunosuppressive microenvironment by recruiting CD4+CD25+ T cells, via secreting CXCL12, and promoting their differentiation to Tregs and survival, via expressing T cell interacting proteins.




Costa, A., Kieffer, Y., Scholer-Dahirel, A., Pelon, F., Bourachot, B., Cardon, M., … Mechta-Grigoriou, F. (2018). Fibroblast Heterogeneity and Immunosuppressive Environment in Human Breast Cancer. Cancer Cell, 33(3), 463-479.e10.

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