Adaptive immune receptor features related to breast cancer tissue in Kenyan patients: high immunoglobulin gene expression and high levels of gamma-delta T-cells

Document Type



Pathology (East Africa)


Background: Characterization of the breast cancer (BC) immune response may provide information for a point of intervention, such as application of immunotherapeutic treatments. In this study, we sought to recover and characterize the adaptive immune receptor (IR) recombination reads from genomics files representing Kenyan patients, to better understand the immune response specifically related to those patients.

Methods: We used a previously applied algorithm and software to obtain productive IR recombination reads from cancer and adjacent normal tissue samples representing 22 Kenyan BC patients.

Results: From both the RNAseq and exome files, there were significantly more T-cell receptor (TCR) recombination reads recovered from tumor samples compared to marginal tissue samples. Also, the immunoglobulin (IG) genes were expressed at a much higher level than the TCR genes (p-value = 0.0183) in the tumor samples. And, the tumor IG CDR3s consistently represented more positively charged amino acid R-groups, in comparison to the marginal tissue, IG CDR3s.

Conclusion: For Kenyan patients, a high level of IG expression, representing specific CDR3 chemistries, was associated with BC. These results lay the foundation for studies that could support specific immunotherapeutic interventions for Kenyan BC patients.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment