Purpose: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) are associated with benefit to trastuzumab and chemotherapy in patients with early-stage HER2þ breast cancer. The predictive value of TILs, TIL subsets, and other immune cells in patients receiving chemotherapy-sparing lapatinib plus trastuzumab treatment is unclear. Experimental Design: Hematoxylin and eosin–stained slides (n ¼ 59) were used to score stromal (s-)TILs from pretreatment biopsies of patients enrolled in the neoadjuvant TBCRC006 trial of 12-week lapatinib plus trastuzumab therapy (plus endocrine therapy for ERþ tumors). A 60% threshold was used to define lymphocyte-predominant breast cancer (LPBC). Multiplexed immunofluorescence (m-IF) staining (CD4, CD8, CD20, CD68, and FoxP3) and multispectral imaging were performed to characterize immune infiltrates in single formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded slides (n ¼ 33). Results: The pathologic complete response (pCR) rate was numerically higher in patients with LPBC compared with patients with non-LPBC (50% vs. 19%, P ¼ 0.057). Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of the five immune markers identified two patient clusters with different responses to lapatinib plus trastuzumab treatment (pCR ¼ 7% vs. 50%, for cluster 1 vs. 2 respectively; P ¼ 0.01). In multivariable analysis, cluster 2, characterized by high CD4þ, CD8þ, CD20þ s-TILs, and high CD20þ intratumoral TILs, was independently associated with a higher pCR rate (P ¼ 0.03). Analysis of single immune subpopulations revealed a significant association of pCR with higher baseline infiltration by s-CD4, intratumoral (i-) CD4, and i-CD20þ TILs. Conclusions: LPBC was marginally associated with higher pCR rate than non-LPBC in patients with lapatinib plus trastuzumab treated HER2þ breast cancer. Quantitative assessment of the immune infiltrate by m-IF is feasible and may help correlate individual immune cell subpopulations and immune cell profiles with treatment response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research