Benzophenone-3 exposure alters composition of tumor infiltrating immune cells and increases lung seeding of 4T1 breast cancer cells

Author Department

PVLSI; Pathology; Surgery

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Environmental chemicals are a persistent and pervasive part of everyday life. A subset of environmental chemicals are xenoestrogens, compounds that bind to the estrogen receptor (ER) and drive estrogen-related processes. One such chemical, benzophenone-3 (BP3), is a common chemical in sunscreen. It is a potent UV protectant but also is quickly absorbed through the skin. While it has been approved by the FDA, there is a renewed interest in the safety of BP3, particularly in relation to breast cancer. The focus of this study was to examine the impact that BP3 has on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) through alterations to cells in the immune microenvironment. In this study, we exposed female mice to one of two doses of BP3 before injecting them with a TNBC cell line. Several immune endpoints were examined both in the primary tissues and from in vitro studies of T cell behavior. Our studies revealed that in the lung tumor microenvironment, exposure to BP3 not only increased the number of metastases, but also the total area of tumor coverage. We also found that BP3 caused alterations in immune populations in a tissue-dependent manner, particularly in T cells. Taken together, our data suggest that while BP3 may not directly affect the proliferation of TNBC, growth and metastasis of TNBC-derived tumors can be altered by BP3 exposures via the alterations in the immune populations of the tumor microenvironment.