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Recent significant developments in cancer immunotherapy have led to important breakthroughs and paradigm shifts in the treatment of malignancy. Although breast cancer traditionally has been considered less immunogenic, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most immunogenic subtype with more stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and higher programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression. The goal of this study is to evaluate regulatory T cells (Tregs) and PD-L1 expression in TNBC, as well as their associations with clinicopathologic features and the outcomes. Tissue microarrays (TMA) of biopsy and resection specimens of 43 TNBC patients who underwent breast biopsy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and mastectomy were prepared. The number of Foxp3+ Tregs, Foxp3+/CD25+ Tregs, and expression of PD-L1 in tumor cells (PD-L1 TCs) and TILs (PD-L1 TILs) were assessed by immunohistochemistry. PD-L1 expression combined positive score (PD-L1 CPS) was calculated according to the manufacturer's guidelines. PD-L1 expression was detected in 72% of the cases, and it expressed in a higher percentage and higher intensity in TILs than TCs in TNBC (p = 0.006 and 0.0005, respectively). PD-L1 TCs, PD-L1 TILs, and PD-L1 CPS were all positively associated with pathologic complete response (pCR) (p = 0.04, 0.03, and 0.02, respectively). PD-L1 TILs and PD-L1 CPS also correlated with TILs and tumor infiltrating lymphocyte volume (TILV). Foxp3+ Tregs and Foxp3+/CD25+ Tregs had strong positive correlation (r = 0.89), and they were positively associated with TILs, TILV, and PD-L1 expression. Foxp3+/CD25+ Tregs, PD-L1 TCs, and PD-L1 CPS were positively correlated with better overall survival (p = 0.04, 0.04 and 0.01, respectively).
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Annals of diagnostic pathology
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