Analysis of Cytokine Data

Examining the Prognostic Significance of Select Inflammatory Cytokines Using an Open-Source Genomics Platform

Given high rates of obesity and aggressive breast cancers, it is paramount to understand how adipose tissue supports the tumor microenvironment. We previously found that adipose-derived stem cells cultured with triple-negative tumor cells enhanced the expression of numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines.

To validate the clinical significance of our in vitro studies, we analyzed breast tumor mRNA expression data using cBioPortal, and open-source cancer genomics database. FGF7, CCL5, CCL2, IL-6, and IL-6R were further analyzed for expression across molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Greater expression of these cytokines in tumors was correlated with reduced patient survival in triple-negative tumors and ER negative subtypes.

This analysis supports in vitro findings that IL6R, CCL5, and CCL2 overexpression, either independently or synergistically, predict a worse prognosis in breast cancer. For adipose-driven, hormone receptor negative breast tumors, these cytokines and growth factors could serve as novel therapeutic targets.

student analyzing cytokine data.

Abhishek Yadav, Intro Program researcher, examining previous in vitro cytokine data.

graphic of data.  Expression was highest in triple negative tumors.

Analysis of variance was done to detect differences in mean expression of each cytokine across molecular subtypes. Expression was highest in triple negative tumors for IL6R, CCL5, and CCL2.