Improved efficacy of neoadjuvant endocrine-targeting therapies in luminal breast carcinomas could be achieved with optimal use of pathway targeting agents. In a mouse model of ductal breast carcinoma we identify a tumor regressive stromal reaction that is induced by neoadjuvant endocrine therapy. This reparative reaction is characterized by tumor neovascularization accompanied by infiltration of immune cells and carcinoma-associated fibroblasts that stain for phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6), downstream the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. While tumor variants with higher PI3K/Akt/mTOR activity respond well to a combination of endocrine and PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors, tumor variants with lower PI3K/Akt/mTOR activity respond more poorly to the combination therapy than to the endocrine therapy alone, associated with inhibition of stromal pS6 and the reparative reaction. In human breast cancer xenografts we confirm that such differential sensitivity to therapy is primarily determined by the level of PI3K/Akt/mTOR in tumor cells. We further show that the clinical response of breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant endocrine therapy is associated with the reparative stromal reaction. We conclude that tumor level and localization of pS6 are associated with therapeutic response in breast cancer and represent biomarkers to distinguish which tumors will benefit from the incorporation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors with neoadjuvant endocrine therapy.
- Breast cancer
- Neoadjuvant endocrine therapy
- PI3K/Akt pathway
- Tumor stroma
ASJC Scopus subject areas