Identification of a new type of biomarker and therapeutic target to combat breast cancer

Maria de Guadalupe Cabral


    Maria de Guadalupe Cabral


    Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal


    Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality among women worldwide, largely due to the development of metastasis. Immunotherapy targeting lymphocytes is an emerging treatment for metastatic breast cancer, although its success is currently limited. To improve the outcome of these therapies, there is a need to find new disease-related features that can be used as biomarkers to predict the response to treatment and as new therapeutic targets towards which immunological treatments can be directed.

    Neutrophils are white blood cells that combat microbial infections and facilitate wound healing. A particular type of neutrophil has been found which, due to its immunosuppressive effect, modulates cancer progression and the efficacy of immunotherapies. The aim of this project is to establish a new type of biomarker for breast cancer, based on a new subset of neutrophils that the team has recently identified. This subset has enhanced immunosuppressive properties and is prevalent in the blood of patients with metastatic breast cancer. It is believed to contribute to the aggressiveness of the cancer and to negatively affect approved lymphocyte-based therapies for metastatic breast cancer.

    The team will develop a proof of concept to demonstrate the potential use of this subset of neutrophils as a biomarker to predict disease progression/response to immunotherapy, especially in the most aggressive cases of metastatic breast cancer, and as a target for immunotherapeutic treatments, to maximise their efficacy.


    New subset of neutrophils as a biomarker and a therapeutic target for metastatic breast cancer


    Stage 1