Background The immune system might influence breast cancer (BC) prognosis. However, the relationship between programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) profiles remains unclear with respect to BC subtypes. Patients and Methods We investigated the relationship between TIL profiles for CD8+ and forkhead box P3-positive (FOXP3+) and PD-L1 expression in primary tumor tissue using immunohistochemistry and the clinical outcomes in 2 patient cohorts at the National Cancer Center: 256 patients diagnosed with early-stage BC from January 2001 to December 2005 and 77 hormone receptor (HR)-negative BC patients diagnosed from January 2006 to December 2008. Clinical data were collected, including HR status, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression, disease-free survival, and overall survival (OS). Results The median patient age was 47 years (range, 28-78), and the median follow-up period was 9.8 years. Of the 333 patients, 186 (55.9%) had HR-positive and 125 (37.5%) had node-positive BC. We found a strong positive correlation between CD8+ TILs and FOXP3+ TILs (P <.001). CD8+ TILs were more abundant in tumors with low PD-L1 expression (P <.001), although no association was found between FOXP3+ TILs and PD-L1 expression. More CD8+ TILs were present in HR-negative than in HR-positive BC (P <.001), and PD-L1 expression was more frequent in HR-positive BC (P <.001). A greater number of CD8+ TILs (increase in quartile) was strongly associated with OS (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% confidence interval, 0.39-0.95; P =.03) only in HR-negative BC when adjusted for various clinical factors. PD-L1 expression and FOXP3+ TILs did not exhibit such associations. Conclusion Higher CD8+ lymphocyte infiltration was related to lower PD-L1 expression and higher FOXP3+ TIL infiltration in BC. Higher CD8+ TIL expression was associated with prolonged survival only in those with HR-negative BC.
- Hormone receptor
- Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research