A High-Dimensional Window into the Micro-Environment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Department of Tumor Biology and Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Departments of Medical Oncology and Tumor Biology and Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2020
Revised: 8 January 2021
Accepted: 12 January 2021
Published: 16 January 2021
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) shows a substantial level of genomic, cellular, and phenotypic heterogeneity. While genomic heterogeneity and subclonal diversity are prevalent in this subgroup of tumors, a growing body of evidence indicates that the disease course depends on the interaction between cancer cells and the tumor micro-environment (TME). The TME is not static and can change over time, owing to differences in cell numbers, phenotypes, and spatial relationships. Efforts to further elucidate the TME have been aided by a plethora of new technologies that study tumors in a high-dimensional manner. These high-dimensional technologies enable comprehensive analysis of cell phenotypes at the single cell level or the spatial relationships of tumor and immune cells. In this review, we discuss studies in TNBC that unravel specific spatial patterns of cells in the breast TME and single cell phenotypes.