Microsatellite instability in Japanese female patients with triple-negative breast cancer

Kanako Kurata, Makoto Kubo, Masaya Kai, Hitomi Mori, Hitomi Kawaji, Kazuhisa Kaneshiro, Mai Yamada, Reiki Nishimura, Tomofumi Osako, Nobuyuki Arima, Masayuki Okido, Yoshinao Oda, Masafumi Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is important to identify biomarkers for triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs). Recently, pembrolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) for programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), was approved as a treatment strategy for unresectable or metastatic tumor with high-frequency microsatellite instability (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficiency, such as malignant melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell cancer and urothelial cancer. In addition, results from clinical trials suggested that ICI was a promising treatment for TNBCs with accumulated mutations. However, the frequency of MSI in Japanese TNBCs still remains unclear. We aimed to analyze the presence of MSI-H in TNBCs as a biomarker for ICI therapy. Methods: In this study, we retrospectively evaluated the MSI of 228 TNBCs using an innovative method, MSI Analysis System Version 1.2 (Promega), consisting of 5 microsatellite markers: BAT-26, NR-21, BAT-25, MONO-27 and NR-24 without a normal tissue control. Results: Among 228 tumors, 222 (97.4%) were microsatellite stable, 4 (1.7%) low-frequency MSI and 2 (0.9%) MSI-H, respectively. Two MSI-H tumors were potentially aggressive pathologically as indicated by nuclear grade 3 and high Ki-67 (> 30%), and were classified as basal-like and non-BRCA-like, but were not consistent regarding tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, CD8 and PD-L1 expression. Conclusions: Although we found that MSI-H was uncommon (0.9%) in TNBCs, potential targets for ICIs exist in TNBCs. Therefore, MSI-H breast cancer patients should be picked up using not only conventional methods but also platforms for comprehensive genomic profiling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-498
Number of pages9
JournalBreast Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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