CD16+ monocytes in breast cancer patients: expanded by monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and may be useful for early diagnosis

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SummaryHuman peripheral blood monocytes are a heterogeneous population, including CD14+CD16-‘classical’ monocytes and CD14+CD16+‘proinflammatory’ monocytes. CD16+ monocytes are expanded in various inflammatory conditions. However, little is known about the CD14+CD16+ monocytes in patients with breast cancer. We detected CD14+CD16+ monocytes in 96 patients with breast cancer and 54 control subjects using flow cytometry. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine the feasibility of CD14+CD16+ monocytes as an indicator for diagnosis of breast cancer. We found that the frequency of CD14+CD16+ monocytes showed a significantly greater increase in breast cancer patients than in controls (16·96% versus 10·84%, P < 0·0001). The area under the ROC curve for CD14+CD16+ monocytes was 0·805 [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0·714–0·877, P = 0·0001]. Furthermore, the levels of CD16+ monocytes were significantly negatively associated with the tumour size and pathological staging. In vitro, we showed that CD14+CD16+ monocytes were expanded significantly when the purified CD14+ monocytes were exposed to Michigan Cancer Foundation (MCF)-7 cells-conditioned medium (MCF-CM) or, separately, to monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). Neutralizing antibodies against MCP-1 inhibited the expansion of CD14+CD16+ monocytes by MCF-CM. Collectively, our findings indicated that MCP-1 can expand CD14+CD16+ monocytes in patients with breast cancer. Furthermore, the CD14+CD16+ monocyte may be a useful indicator in early diagnosis of breast cancer.

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