Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a collection of biologically diverse cancers characterized by distinct transcriptional patterns, biology and immune composition. TNBCs display transcriptional diversity with at least four tumor-intrinsic subtypes that include two basal-like (BL1, BL2), a mesenchymal (M) and a luminal androgen receptor (LAR) subtype. Using integrative analyses of transcriptomic, epigenetic, proteomic and phospho-proteomic patterns we have identified subtype-specific vulnerabilities, which advanced our understanding of the cellular origins of TNBC subtypes. In mesenchymal subtype tumors we observed high mutation load and genomic instability, absence of immune cells, low PD-L1 expression, loss of global DNA methylation and transcriptional repression of antigen presentation genes through the polycomb repressor complex 2 (PRC2). Using cell line models, we demonstrate that MHC-I expression is epigenetically silenced by the PRC2 in mesenchymal TNBC cell lines and inhibition of EZH2 restores expression. Pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 enhances chemotherapy efficacy in syngeneic murine tumor models providing a rationale for using PRC2 inhibitors in PD-L1 negative mesenchymal tumors.

Citation Format: Brian D Lehmann, Antonio Colaprico, Tiago C Silva, Jianjiao Chen, Hanbing An, Yuguang Ban, Lily Wang, Jamaal L James, Justin Balko, Paula I Gonzalez-Ericsson, Melinda E Sanders, Bing Zhang, Jennifer A Pietenpol, Xi S Chen. Multi-omics characterization of triple-negative breast cancer identifies therapeutic vulnerabilities and epigenetic immune suppression in the mesenchymal subtype [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2021 Dec 7-10; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(4 Suppl):Abstract nr PD3-04.