Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 729–738 | Cite as

Identification of tumor-reactive B cells and systemic IgG in breast cancer based on clonal frequency in the sentinel lymph node

  • Jonathan R. McDaniel
  • Stephanie C. Pero
  • William N. Voss
  • Girja S. Shukla
  • Yujing Sun
  • Sebastian Schaetzle
  • Chang-Han Lee
  • Andrew P. Horton
  • Seth Harlow
  • Jimmy Gollihar
  • Jared W. Ellefson
  • Christopher C. Krag
  • Yuri Tanno
  • Nikoletta Sidiropoulos
  • George Georgiou
  • Gregory C. Ippolito
  • David N. Krag
Original Article


A better understanding of antitumor immune responses is the key to advancing the field of cancer immunotherapy. Endogenous immunity in cancer patients, such as circulating anticancer antibodies or tumor-reactive B cells, has been historically yet incompletely described. Here, we demonstrate that tumor-draining (sentinel) lymph node (SN) is a rich source for tumor-reactive B cells that give rise to systemic IgG anticancer antibodies circulating in the bloodstream of breast cancer patients. Using a synergistic combination of high-throughput B-cell sequencing and quantitative immunoproteomics, we describe the prospective identification of tumor-reactive SN B cells (based on clonal frequency) and also demonstrate an unequivocal link between affinity-matured expanded B-cell clones in the SN and antitumor IgG in the blood. This technology could facilitate the discovery of antitumor antibody therapeutics and conceivably identify novel tumor antigens. Lastly, these findings highlight the unique and specialized niche the SN can fill in the advancement of cancer immunotherapy.


Breast cancer Antibody Sentinel Node Next-Generation Sequencing Repertoire Heavy–light (VH:VL) chain pairing 



B-Cell Receptor


Complementarity-Determining Region




Liquid Chromatography–tandem Mass Spectrometry


Mass Spectrometry


Reverse Transcription Xenopolymerase


Sentinel Nodes


Surface Plasmon Resonance




Triple Negative Breast Cancer


Variable Heavy chain


Variable Light chain



The authors thank the patients for their willingness to participate, the UVM Larner College of Medicine Microscopy Imaging Center for tissue imaging; the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Facility at the University of Texas at Austin for performing Illumina next-generation sequencing; the clinical coordinators in the Vermont Cancer Center for consenting patients and collecting the tissues for this study; Andrew D. Ellington (UT Austin) for a generous gift of RTX polymerase; and members of our laboratories for critical reading of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

Conception and design: JRM, SCP, GSS, NS, GG, GCI, DNK, development of methodology: JRM, SCP, WNV, GSS, JG, JWE. Acquisition of data: JRM, SCP, WNV, YS, SS, C-HL, CCK, YT, and SH. Acquired and managed patients: DNK and SH. Analysis and interpretation of data: JRM, SCP, WNV, GSS, YS, SS, C-HL, APH, GCI, DNK. Writing, review, and/or revision of the manuscript: JRM, SCP, WNV, GSS, SS, C-HL, APH, GG, GCI, DNK. Administrative, technical, or material support (i.e., reporting or organizing data, constructing databases): SCP, WNV, JG, JWE, YT, GG, DNK. Study Supervision: JRM, SCP, GG, GCI, DNK.


This study was supported by S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Foundation (David N. Krag), The Lake Champlain Cancer Research Foundation Grant (Stephanie C. Pero, Nikoletta Sidiropoulos), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) HDTRA1-12-C-0105 (George Georgiou), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 5R21AI119368 (Gregory C. Ippolito). The Zeiss 510 META laser scanning confocal microscope was supported by NIH Award Number 1S10RR019246 from the National Center for Research Resources.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval and ethical standards

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Vermont, CHRMS# M12-009, PI: David N. Krag.

Informed consent

Informed Consent was received from each of the patients involved in this study.

Supplementary material

262_2018_2123_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (908 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 907 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan R. McDaniel
    • 2
  • Stephanie C. Pero
    • 1
  • William N. Voss
    • 2
  • Girja S. Shukla
    • 1
  • Yujing Sun
    • 1
  • Sebastian Schaetzle
    • 2
  • Chang-Han Lee
    • 2
  • Andrew P. Horton
    • 2
  • Seth Harlow
    • 1
  • Jimmy Gollihar
    • 4
  • Jared W. Ellefson
    • 4
  • Christopher C. Krag
    • 1
  • Yuri Tanno
    • 2
  • Nikoletta Sidiropoulos
    • 3
  • George Georgiou
    • 2
    • 4
  • Gregory C. Ippolito
    • 4
  • David N. Krag
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Vermont Cancer CenterUniversity of Vermont Larner College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Vermont Larner College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Molecular BiosciencesThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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