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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    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.
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    High and low mammographic density human breast tissues maintain histological differential in murine tissue engineering chambers
    Chew, GL ; Huang, D ; Lin, SJ ; Huo, C ; Blick, T ; Henderson, MA ; Hill, P ; Cawson, J ; Morrison, WA ; Campbell, IG ; Hopper, JL ; Southey, MC ; Haviv, I ; Thompson, EW (SPRINGER, 2012-08-01)
    Mammographic density (MD) is the area of breast tissue that appears radiologically white on mammography. Although high MD is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, independent of BRCA1/2 mutation status, the molecular basis of high MD and its associated breast cancer risk is poorly understood. MD studies will benefit from an animal model, where hormonal, gene and drug perturbations on MD can be measured in a preclinical context. High and low MD tissues were selectively sampled by stereotactic biopsy from operative specimens of high-risk women undergoing prophylactic mastectomy. The high and low MD tissues were transferred into separate vascularised biochambers in the groins of SCID mice. Chamber material was harvested after 6 weeks for histological analyses and immunohistochemistry for cytokeratins, vimentin and a human-specific mitochondrial antigen. Within-individual analysis was performed in replicate mice, eliminating confounding by age, body mass index and process-related factors, and comparisons were made to the parental human tissue. Maintenance of differential MD post-propagation was assessed radiographically. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the preservation of human glandular and stromal components in the murine biochambers, with maintenance of radiographic MD differential. Propagated high MD regions had higher stromal (p = 0.0002) and lower adipose (p = 0.0006) composition, reflecting the findings in the original human breast tissue, although glands appeared small and non-complex in both high and low MD groups. No significant differences were observed in glandular area (p = 0.4) or count (p = 0.4) between high and low MD biochamber tissues. Human mammary glandular and stromal tissues were viably maintained in murine biochambers, with preservation of differential radiographic density and histological features. Our study provides a murine model for future studies into the biomolecular basis of MD as a risk factor for breast cancer.
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    Dynamic changes in high and low mammographic density human breast tissues maintained in murine tissue engineering chambers during various murine peripartum states and over time
    Chew, GL ; Huang, D ; Huo, CW ; Blick, T ; Hill, P ; Cawson, J ; Frazer, H ; Southey, MD ; Hopper, JL ; Henderson, MA ; Haviv, I ; Thompson, EW (SPRINGER, 2013-07-01)
    Mammographic density (MD) is a strong heritable risk factor for breast cancer, and may decrease with increasing parity. However, the biomolecular basis for MD-associated breast cancer remains unclear, and systemic hormonal effects on MD-associated risk is poorly understood. This study assessed the effect of murine peripartum states on high and low MD tissue maintained in a xenograft model of human MD. Method High and low MD human breast tissues were precisely sampled under radiographic guidance from prophylactic mastectomy specimens of women. The high and low MD tissues were maintained in separate vascularised biochambers in nulliparous or pregnant SCID mice for 4 weeks, or mice undergoing postpartum involution or lactation for three additional weeks. High and low MD biochamber material was harvested for histologic and radiographic comparisons during various murine peripartum states. High and low MD biochamber tissues in nulliparous mice were harvested at different timepoints for histologic and radiographic comparisons. Results High MD biochamber tissues had decreased stromal (p = 0.0027), increased adipose (p = 0.0003) and a trend to increased glandular tissue areas (p = 0.076) after murine postpartum involution. Stromal areas decreased (p = 0.042), while glandular (p = 0.001) and adipose areas (p = 0.009) increased in high MD biochamber tissues during lactation. A difference in radiographic density was observed in high (p = 0.0021) or low MD biochamber tissues (p = 0.004) between nulliparous, pregnant and involution groups. No differences in tissue composition were observed in high or low MD biochamber tissues maintained for different durations, although radiographic density increased over time. Conclusion High MD biochamber tissues had measurable histologic changes after postpartum involution or lactation. Alterations in radiographic density occurred in biochamber tissues between different peripartum states and over time. These findings demonstrate the dynamic nature of the human MD xenograft model, providing a platform for studying the biomolecular basis of MD-associated cancer risk.