Skip to main content

Volume 3 Supplement 2

30th Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2015)

  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

An immune surveillance model to monitor the response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy treatment in breast cancer patients


Tumors treated with doxorubicin generates immunogenic cell death of tumor cells, favoring cross-presentation of tumor antigens by DCs to CD8 T cells conferring antitumor immunity in vaccinated mice. On the other hand, low-dose of cyclophosphamide reduces the number of regulatory T cells (Treg). Although treatment with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (AC chemotherapy) is widely used in patients with breast cancer, the immune-stimulating effect of AC in these patients has been difficult to prove.


After signed informed consent, we compared in blood samples from breast cancer patients obtained pre- and post-chemotherapy several immunological parameters in order to monitor changes in the response of T and APC compartments during treatment. Using peripheral blood samples of patients collected before and after three cycles of AC we quantified by flow cytometry: (i) Tregs, (ii) MDSCs; (iii) myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs; (iv) the phenotype of Tumor Associated Antigens (TAAs) specific T cells; and (v) the T cell activation and DC maturation phenotype in response to TCR stimulation and to pro-inflammatory cytokines respectively.


We show a reversal of the suppression of T cell response to polyclonal stimuli and maturation of DCs in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli in samples from patients after three cycles of chemotherapy not observed in the pre-chemotherapy samples. Interestingly, in the same donor the T cell response (TCR internalization) highly correlates with IL-12 secretion by mature myeloid DC (CD83+). Using factor analysis and Principal Component Analysis (PCA), the data collected show significant differences between the three categories analyzed (pre- vs. post-chemotherapy patients and healthy donors).


The analysis of the different variables by PCA lead us to argue for the capacity of chemotherapy to improve responsiveness of the T and APC compartments in treated patients to levels comparable to those of healthy controls that was not observed in samples from untreated patients. The application of this model of immune surveillance required a careful optimization process using small samples of blood and brief periods of in vitro stimulation. These interesting results must be validated with a larger number of patients.


This study was supported by Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Fundación Salud de los Andes. The authors would like to thank Dr. Fabio Méndez for his support and Hemocentro Distrital, and Dr. Bernardo Camacho, for patient assistance. Moreover, the authors would like to thank the patients and healthy volunteers for donating blood samples.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bernal-Estévez, D.A., García, O.A., Sanchez, R. et al. An immune surveillance model to monitor the response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy treatment in breast cancer patients. j. immunotherapy cancer 3 (Suppl 2), P261 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: