Response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in invasive breast cancer (IBC) is partly regulated by the immune microenvironment. We evaluated immune checkpoint PD-L1 expression, presence of CD68+ cells of macrophage/monocytic lineage and stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in prechemotherapy biopsies and correlated with NAC response. We studied 76 cases of IBC. Prechemotherapy biopsies with >30% TILs were considered lymphocyte-rich IBC. We performed immunohistochemistry for PD-L1 and CD68. Prechemotherapy cores showing >1% PD-L1+ immune or tumor cells were considered positive. CD68 was positive if >40% of tumor stroma contained CD68+ cells or atleast 50% of tumor cells showed infiltration by CD68+ cells. Residual Cancer burden (RCB) Score of 0/I represented excellent response to NAC and RCB II or III unfavorable response. Thirty-five patients had RCB 0/I and 41 pts RCB II/ III. TILs>30% were present in prechemotherapy biopsies in 19 pts of whom 14 showed RCB 0/I (P=0.0075). Twenty-seven cases were PD-L1+ and 20 had an RCB 0/I (P=0.0003). Twenty-two cases were CD68+ of whom 18 showed RCB 0/I (P=<0.0001) There was a significant association between TILs>30%, PD-L1+ and CD68+ expression. Using atleast one of these immunologic parameters identified 26 of 35 patients with RCB 0/I and showed a higher sensitivity for response prediction than TILs alone (40% vs. 74.3%). In conclusion we demonstrate that high numbers of CD68+ monocytic/macrophage cells and PD-L1 expression in IBC shows significant association with NAC response. An immune biomarker profile including TILs, PD-LI and CD68 is more sensitive for NAC response prediction than TILs alone.
Departments of *Pathology
§Epidemiology and Population Health, Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
‡Department of Surgery, Eastchester Center for Cancer Care and Montefiore Medical Center
∥Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Reprints: Susan Fineberg, MD, Department of Pathology, Montefiore Medical Center, 4th floor silver Zone, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received July 31, 2016
Accepted November 6, 2016