High TILs are linked to better survival in stage 3 breast cancer

  • de Boo L & al.
  • Eur J Cancer
  • 16 Jan 2020

  • curated by Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • High tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in the primary tumor of stage 3 breast cancer (BCa) are associated with better recurrence-free survival (RFS) and OS.
  • High TILs do not predict benefit from intensified platinum-based chemotherapy.

Why this matters

  • This study is among the first to find that TIL levels have a prognostic role in stage 3 BCa.
  • TILs may not be a biomarker of benefit from intensified platinum-based chemotherapy.

Study design

  • Long-term outcome of a randomized controlled trial (N=248) of adjuvant intensified platinum-based chemotherapy vs conventional anthracycline-based chemotherapy for stage 3 BCa.
  • TILs were assessed in the primary tumor, with low TILs defined as ≤10% and high TILs as >10%.
  • Funding: Dutch Cancer Society; others.

Key results

  • Median follow-up, 9.52 years.
  • High TILs were associated, after adjustment, with better survival outcome:
    • RFS: multivariable HR, 0.82 (P=.01).
    • OS: multivariable HR, 0.80 (P=.01).
  • No interaction between TILs and benefit from intensified platinum-based chemotherapy (P=.35).
  • TIL levels were higher in BRCA1-like tumors than BRCA2-like tumors (median TILs of 20% vs 10%; P<.001>

Limitations

  • Small sample size.
  • Retrospective design.
  • Heterogeneity of BCa subtypes.