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J Surg Oncol. 2016 Jul;114(1):17-21. doi: 10.1002/jso.24275. Epub 2016 May 8.

No effect of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) on prognosis in patients with early triple-negative breast cancer: Validation of recommendations by the International TILs Working Group 2014.

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Department of Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The aim of this study was to examine the International TILs Working Group 2014 (IWG) recommendations for evaluating the clinical utility of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in patients with early triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).


Records for 133 patients with early TNBC who underwent surgery between 2008 and 2010 were reviewed. A total of 121 of 133 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples were available and reviewed following IWG recommendations.


Most of the patients had node-negative T1-2 tumors and received adjuvant chemotherapy; T1-2 tumors accounted for 117 of 121 cases. Sixty-two percent (75/121) of all patients had >10% stromal TILs. Intratumoral TILs and lymphocyte-predominant breast cancer (LPBC) were observed in 72% and 19% of the patients, respectively. However, there were no significant differences according to the presence of stromal TILs, intratumoral TILs, TILs at the invasive edge, or LPBC in terms of recurrence-free and overall survival (all P > 0.05). A multivariate analysis adjusted for T and N stage, grade, and adjuvant chemotherapy revealed that no TILs parameters were associated with survival outcomes.


TILs evaluations following the IWG recommendations may not be useful for predicting survival outcomes in patients with early TNBC. J. Surg. Oncol. 2016;114:17-21. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


TILs; biomarkers; breast; lymphocytic infiltration; neoplasms; prognosis; survival

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