Antigen-driven oligoclonal expansion of tumor-infiltrating B cells in infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast

Julia A. Coronella, Catherine Spier, Matthew Welch, Katrina T. Trevor, Alison T. Stopeck, Hugo Villar, Evan M. Hersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine whether tumor-infiltrating B cells (TIL-B) of infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) of the breast represent a tumor-specific humoral immune response. Immunohistochemical analysis of three Her-2/neu-negative IDC tumors from geriatric patients showed that TIL-B cluster in structures similar to germinal centers containing CD20+ B lymphocyte and CD3+ T lymphocyte zones with interdigitating CD21+ follicular dendritic cells, suggesting an in situ immune response. A total of 29, 31, and 58 IgG1 H chain clones was sequenced from the three IDC tumors, respectively. Intratumoral oligoclonal expansion of TIL-B was demonstrated by a preponderance (45-68%) of clonal B cells. In contrast, only 7% of tumor-draining lymph node and 0% of healthy donor PBL IgG H chains were clonal, consistent with the larger repertoires of node and peripheral populations. Patterns and levels of TIL-B IgG H chain somatic hypermutation suggested affinity maturation in intratumoral germinal centers. To examine the specificity of TIL-B Ig, a phage-displayed Fab library was generated from the TIL-B of one IDC tumor. Panning with an allogeneic breast cancer cell line enriched Fab binding to breast cancer cells, but not nonmalignant cell lines tested. However, panning with autologous tumor tissue lysate increased binding of Fab to both tumor tissue lysate and healthy breast tissue lysate. These data suggest an in situ Ag-driven oligoclonal B cell response to a variety of tumor- and breast-associated Ags.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1829-1836
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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