The combined presence of CD20 + B cells and PD-L1 + tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in inflammatory breast cancer is prognostic of improved patient outcome

H. Arias-Pulido, A. Cimino-Mathews, N. Chaher, C. Qualls, N. Joste, C. Colpaert, J. D. Marotti, M. Foisey, E. R. Prossnitz, L. A. Emens, S. Fiering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to evaluate protein expression of PD-L1 and CD20 as prognostic biomarkers of patient outcome in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) samples. Methods: PD-L1 and CD20 protein expression was measured by immunohistochemistry in 221 pretreatment IBC biopsies. PD-L1 was assessed in tumor cells (PD-L1 + tumor cells) and tumor stromal infiltrating lymphocytes (PD-L1 + TILs); CD20 was scored in tumor-infiltrating B cells. Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard models were used for survival analysis. Results: PD-L1 + tumor cells, PD-L1 + TILs, and CD20 + TILs were found in 8%, 66%, and 62% of IBC, respectively. PD-L1 + tumor cells strongly correlated with high TILs, pathological complete response (pCR), CD20 + TILs, but marginally with breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS, P = 0.057). PD-L1 + TILs strongly correlated with high TILs, CD20 + TILs, and longer disease-free survival (DFS) in all IBC and in triple-negative (TN) IBC (P < 0.035). IBC and TN IBC patients with tumors containing both CD20 + TILs and PD-L1 + TILs (CD20 + TILs/PD-L1 + TILs) showed longer DFS and improved BCSS (P < 0.002) than patients lacking both, or those with either CD20 + TILs or PD-L1 + TILs alone. In multivariate analyses, CD20 + TILs/PD-L1 + TILs status was an independent prognostic factor for DFS in IBC (hazard ratio (HR): 0.53, 95% CI 0.37–0.77) and TN IBC (HR: 0.39 95% CI 0.17–0.88), and for BCSS in IBC (HR: 0.60 95% CI 0.43–0.85) and TN IBC (HR: 0.38 95% CI 0.17–0.83). Conclusion: CD20 + TILs/PD-L1 + TILs status represents an independent favorable prognostic factor in IBC and TN IBC, suggesting a critical role for B cells in antitumor immune responses. Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 and B cell-activating immunotherapies should be explored in these settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Volume171
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Keywords

  • CD20
  • Immuno-oncology
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • PD-L1
  • Patient outcome
  • Triple-negative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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