PD-L1 expression and CD8-positive T cells are associated with favorable survival in HER2-positive invasive breast cancer.

Hou Y, Nitta H, Wei L, Banks PM, Lustberg M, Wesolowski R, Ramaswamy B, Parwani AV, Li Z
Breast J 24 911-919 11/01/2018


Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) are key physiologic suppressors of the cytotoxic immune reaction. However, to date, the combination of PD1/PD-L1 expression and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and antigen-presenting cells has been only minimally reported in breast carcinoma, in particular in relation to HER2-positive cases. The goal of this study was to evaluate both cellular tumoral immune reaction and PD-L1/PD1 distribution in HER2-positive cases, as well as any associations with clinical outcome using conventional chemotherapy combined with HER2 blocking. Multicolor immunohistochemical multiplex assays simultaneously demonstrating PD1, PD-L1, and CD8 or PD-L1, CD3, and CD163 were performed on tissue microarrays (TMA) representing 216 pretreatment cases of HER2-positive invasive breast carcinoma. PD-L1 expression was identified in 38 cases (18%), including 12 cases (6%) with PD-L1 labeling of tumor cells and 26 cases (12%) with PD-L1 labeling of immune cells only. Ten of 12 cases with PD-L1 staining of tumor cells showed staining of associated immune cells as well. With this assay method, PD1 was detectable in many fewer cases (6 cases or 3%). PD-L1 expression was positively associated with high Nottingham grade, negative ER and PR, the absence of lymph node metastasis, and high levels of CD8

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