Surgery (St Vincent's) - Research Publications

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    Human glandular organoid formation in murine engineering chambers after collagenase digestion and flow cytometry isolation of normal human breast tissue single cells
    Huo, CW ; Huang, D ; Chew, GL ; Hill, P ; Vohora, A ; Ingman, WV ; Glynn, DJ ; Godde, N ; Henderson, MA ; Thompson, EW ; Britt, KL (WILEY, 2016-11-01)
    Women with high mammographic density (MD) are at increased risk of breast cancer (BC) after adjustment for age and body mass index. We have developed a murine biochamber model in which both high MD (HMD) and low MD (LMD) tissue can be propagated. Here, we tested whether cells isolated by collagenase digestion and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) from normal breast can be reconstituted in our biochamber model, which would allow cell-specific manipulations to be tested. Fresh breast tissue was collected from women (n = 7) undergoing prophylactic mastectomy. The tissue underwent collagenase digestion overnight and, in some cases, additional FACS enrichment to obtain mature epithelial, luminal progenitor, mammary stem, and stromal cells. Cells were then transferred bilaterally into biochambers in SCID mice (n = 5-7) and incubated for 6 weeks, before harvesting for histological analyses, and immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratins (CK), vimentin, Ki-67, murine macrophages, and Cleaved Caspase-3. Biochambers inoculated with single cells after collagenase digestion or with flow cytometry contained glandular structures of human origin (human vimentin-positive), which expressed CK-14 and pan-CK, and were proliferating (Ki-67-positive). Glandular structures from the digested tissues were smaller than those in chambers seeded with finely chopped intact mammary tissue. Mouse macrophage infiltration was higher in the chambers arising from digested tissues. Pooled single cells and FACS fractionated cells were viable in the murine biochambers and formed proliferating glandular organoids of human origin. This is among the first report to demonstrate the success of formed human glandular organoids from isolated primary mammary cells in the murine biochamber model.
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    High mammographic density is associated with an increase in stromal collagen and immune cells within the mammary epithelium
    Huo, CW ; Chew, G ; Hill, P ; Huang, D ; Ingman, W ; Hodson, L ; Brown, KA ; Magenau, A ; Allam, AH ; McGhee, E ; Timpson, P ; Henderson, MA ; Thompson, EW ; Britt, K (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015-06-04)
    INTRODUCTION: Mammographic density (MD), after adjustment for a women's age and body mass index, is a strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer (BC). Although the BC risk attributable to increased MD is significant in healthy women, the biological basis of high mammographic density (HMD) causation and how it raises BC risk remain elusive. We assessed the histological and immunohistochemical differences between matched HMD and low mammographic density (LMD) breast tissues from healthy women to define which cell features may mediate the increased MD and MD-associated BC risk. METHODS: Tissues were obtained between 2008 and 2013 from 41 women undergoing prophylactic mastectomy because of their high BC risk profile. Tissue slices resected from the mastectomy specimens were X-rayed, then HMD and LMD regions were dissected based on radiological appearance. The histological composition, aromatase immunoreactivity, hormone receptor status and proliferation status were assessed, as were collagen amount and orientation, epithelial subsets and immune cell status. RESULTS: HMD tissue had a significantly greater proportion of stroma, collagen and epithelium, as well as less fat, than LMD tissue did. Second harmonic generation imaging demonstrated more organised stromal collagen in HMD tissues than in LMD tissues. There was significantly more aromatase immunoreactivity in both the stromal and glandular regions of HMD tissues than in those regions of LMD tissues, although no significant differences in levels of oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor or Ki-67 expression were detected. The number of macrophages within the epithelium or stroma did not change; however, HMD stroma exhibited less CD206(+) alternatively activated macrophages. Epithelial cell maturation was not altered in HMD samples, and no evidence of epithelial-mesenchymal transition was seen; however, there was a significant increase in vimentin(+)/CD45(+) immune cells within the epithelial layer in HMD tissues. CONCLUSIONS: We confirmed increased proportions of stroma and epithelium, increased aromatase activity and no changes in hormone receptor or Ki-67 marker status in HMD tissue. The HMD region showed increased collagen deposition and organisation as well as decreased alternatively activated macrophages in the stroma. The HMD epithelium may be a site for local inflammation, as we observed a significant increase in CD45(+)/vimentin(+) immune cells in this area.
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    High mammographic density in women is associated with protumor inflammation
    Huo, CW ; Hill, P ; Chew, G ; Neeson, PJ ; Halse, H ; Williams, ED ; Henderson, MA ; Thompson, EW ; Britt, KL (BMC, 2018-08-09)
    BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that increased mammographic density (MD) is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. We previously observed an elevated number of vimentin+/CD45+ leukocytes in high MD (HMD) epithelium. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the subtypes of immune cell infiltrates in HMD and low MD (LMD) breast tissue. METHODS: Fifty-four women undergoing prophylactic mastectomy at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre or St. Vincent's Hospital were enrolled. Upon completion of mastectomy, HMD and LMD areas were resected under radiological guidance in collaboration with BreastScreen Victoria and were subsequently fixed, processed, and sectioned. Fifteen paired HMD and LMD specimens were further selected according to their fibroglandular characteristics (reasonable amount [> 20%] of tissue per block on H&E stains) for subsequent IHC analysis of immune cell infiltration. RESULTS: Overall, immune cell infiltrates were predominantly present in breast ducts and lobules rather than in the stroma, with CD68+ macrophages and CD20+ B lymphocytes also surrounding the vasculature. Macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs), B lymphocytes, and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) expression were significantly increased in HMD epithelium compared with LMD. Moreover, significantly higher levels of DCs, CD4+ T cells, and PD-1 were also observed in HMD stroma than in LMD stroma. The increased expression of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-4, with unaltered interferon-γ, indicate a proinflammatory microenvironment. CONCLUSIONS: Our work indicates that the immune system may be activated very early in breast cancer development and may in part underpin the breast cancer risk associated with HMD.
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    Mammographic density-a review on the current understanding of its association with breast cancer
    Huo, CW ; Chew, GL ; Britt, KL ; Ingman, WV ; Henderson, MA ; Hopper, JL ; Thompson, EW (SPRINGER, 2014-04-01)
    There has been considerable recent interest in the genetic, biological and epidemiological basis of mammographic density (MD), and the search for causative links between MD and breast cancer (BC) risk. This report will critically review the current literature on MD and summarize the current evidence for its association with BC. Keywords 'mammographic dens*', 'dense mammary tissue' or 'percent dens*' were used to search the existing literature in English on PubMed and Medline. All reports were critically analyzed. The data were assigned to one of the following aspects of MD: general association with BC, its relationship with the breast hormonal milieu, the cellular basis of MD, the generic variations of MD, and its significance in the clinical setting. MD adjusted for age, and BMI is associated with increased risk of BC diagnosis, advanced tumour stage at diagnosis and increased risk of both local recurrence and second primary cancers. The MD measures that predict BC risk have high heritability, and to date several genetic markers associated with BC risk have been found to also be associated with these MD risk predictors. Change in MD could be a predictor of the extent of chemoprevention with tamoxifen. Although the biological and genetic pathways that determine and perhaps modulate MD remain largely unresolved, significant inroads are being made into the understanding of MD, which may lead to benefits in clinical screening, assessment and treatment strategies. This review provides a timely update on the current understanding of MD's association with BC risk.
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    Effects of Tamoxifen and oestrogen on histology and radiographic density in high and low mammographic density human breast tissues maintained in murine tissue engineering chambers
    Chew, GL ; Huo, CW ; Huang, D ; Blick, T ; Hill, P ; Cawson, J ; Frazer, H ; Southey, MC ; Hopper, JL ; Britt, K ; Henderson, MA ; Haviv, I ; Thompson, EW (SPRINGER, 2014-11-01)
    Mammographic density (MD) is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. It is altered by exogenous endocrine treatments, including hormone replacement therapy and Tamoxifen. Such agents also modify breast cancer (BC) risk. However, the biomolecular basis of how systemic endocrine therapy modifies MD and MD-associated BC risk is poorly understood. This study aims to determine whether our xenograft biochamber model can be used to study the effectiveness of therapies aimed at modulating MD, by examine the effects of Tamoxifen and oestrogen on histologic and radiographic changes in high and low MD tissues maintained within the biochamber model. High and low MD human tissues were precisely sampled under radiographic guidance from prophylactic mastectomy fresh specimens of high-risk women, then inserted into separate vascularized murine biochambers. The murine hosts were concurrently implanted with Tamoxifen, oestrogen or placebo pellets, and the high and low MD biochamber tissues maintained in the murine host environment for 3 months, before the high and low MD biochamber tissues were harvested for histologic and radiographic analyses. The radiographic density of high MD tissue maintained in murine biochambers was decreased in Tamoxifen-treated mice compared to oestrogen-treated mice (p = 0.02). Tamoxifen treatment of high MD tissue in SCID mice led to a decrease in stromal (p = 0.009), and an increase in adipose (p = 0.023) percent areas, compared to placebo-treated mice. No histologic or radiographic differences were observed in low MD biochamber tissue with any treatment. High MD biochamber tissues maintained in mice implanted with Tamoxifen, oestrogen or placebo pellets had dynamic and measurable histologic compositional and radiographic changes. This further validates the dynamic nature of the MD xenograft model, and suggests the biochamber model may be useful for assessing the underlying molecular pathways of Tamoxifen-reduced MD, and in testing of other pharmacologic interventions in a preclinical model of high MD.