Vol. 6 No. 1 (2020): Current Issue
Research Article

Soluble B7-H4 and its association with clinical characteristics and prognosis in patients with early breast cancer

Pawel Mach
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital of Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, 45147 Essen, Germany

Published 2021-04-26


Background: Immunotherapy is a promising area for treatment of breast cancer (BC) that has transformed patient care. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are only effective in a subset of patients, and the identification of biomarkers that predict response to therapy is crucial to increase the rates of responders. B7-H4 is a potentially novel target for cancer therapy.

Methods: We examined the association of sB7-H4 with clinical characteristics and prognosis in patients with early BC. Using ELISA, we analyzed sB7-H4 serum concentrations in a total of 572 early BC patients before the onset of therapy, 109 patients (cohort 1) in the neo-adjuvant setting and 463 patients in the adjuvant setting (cohort 2). In cohort 1, measurements were also performed after neo-adjuvant therapy (NACT).

Results: In cohort 1, sB7-H4 blood serum concentration was delectable in 27/109 (26%) patients before and in 50/109 (48%) patients after NACT. In cohort 2, the detection rate was only 4% (18/461 patients). In cohort 1, no significant differences between patients, even when stratifying for particular intrinsic subtypes, before and after NACT were observed. No significant chances in sB7-H4 blood serum concentration levels before and after NACT were associated with clinical parameters, prognosis and the risk of recurrence. The median blood serum concentration levels in cohort 2 were significantly higher than in cohort 1 after NACT (p=0.04) but not before NACT.

Conclusions: sB7-H4 concentration levels in serum of non-metastatic BC patients are neither associated with prognosis nor with clinical characteristics in the adjuvant and neo-adjuvant setting.