Atypical Chemokine Receptor 1 (DARC/ACKR1) in Breast Tumors Is Associated with Survival, Circulating Chemokines, Tumor-Infiltrating Immune Cells, and African Ancestry
Jenkins BD, Martini RN, Hire R, Brown A, Bennett B, Brown I, Howerth EW, Egan M, Hodgson J, Yates C, Kittles R, Chitale D, Ali H, Nathanson D, Nikolinakos P, Newman L, Monteil M, and Davis MB. Atypical Chemokine Receptor 1 (DARC/ACKR1) in Breast Tumors Is Associated with Survival, Circulating Chemokines, Tumor-Infiltrating Immune Cells, and African Ancestry. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019; 28(4):690-700.
Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention
BACKGROUND: Tumor-specific immune response is an important aspect of disease prognosis and ultimately impacts treatment decisions for innovative immunotherapies. The atypical chemokine receptor 1 (ACKR1 or DARC) gene plays a pivotal role in immune regulation and harbors several single-nucleotide variants (SNV) that are specific to sub-Saharan African ancestry. METHODS: Using computational The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) analysis, case-control clinical cohort Luminex assays, and CIBERSORT deconvolution, we identified distinct immune cell profile-associated DARC/ACKR1 tumor expression and race with increased macrophage subtypes and regulatory T cells in DARC/ACKR1-high tumors. RESULTS: In this study, we report the clinical relevance of DARC/ACKR1 tumor expression in breast cancer, in the context of a tumor immune response that may be associated with sub-Saharan African ancestry. Briefly, we found that for infiltrating carcinomas, African Americans have a higher proportion of DARC/ACKR1-negative tumors compared with white Americans, and DARC/ACKR1 tumor expression is correlated with proinflammatory chemokines, CCL2/MCP-1 (P <0.0001) and anticorrelated with CXCL8/IL8 (P <0.0001). Sub-Saharan African-specific DARC/ACKR1 alleles likely drive these correlations. Relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were significantly longer in individuals with DARC/ACKR1-high tumors (P <1.0 x 10(-16) and P <2.2 x 10(-6), respectively) across all molecular tumor subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: DARC/AKCR1 regulates immune responses in tumors, and its expression is associated with sub-Saharan African-specific alleles. DARC/ACKR1-positive tumors will have a distinct immune response compared with DARC/AKCR1-negative tumors. IMPACT: This study has high relevance in cancer management, as we introduce a functional regulator of inflammatory chemokines that can determine an infiltrating tumor immune cell landscape that is distinct among patients of African ancestry.