Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Apr;49(2):399-407. doi: 10.4143/crt.2016.215. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Predictive Value of Tertiary Lymphoid Structures Assessed by High Endothelial Venule Counts in the Neoadjuvant Setting of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The tertiary lymphoid structure (TLS) is an important source of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), which have a strong prognostic and predictive value in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). A previous study reported that the levels of CXCL13 mRNA expression were associated with TLSs, but measuring the gene expression is challenging in routine practice. Therefore, this study evaluated the MECA79-positive high endothelial venule (HEV) densities and their association with the histopathologically assessed TLSs in biopsy samples. In addition, the relationship of TLSs with the CXCL13 transcript levels and clinical outcomes were examined.


A total of 108 TNBC patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) were studied. The amounts of TILs and TLSs were measured histopathologically using hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides. The HEV densities and TIL subpopulations were measured by immunohistochemistry for MECA79, CD3, CD8, and CD20. CXCL13mRNA expression levels using a NanoString assay (NanoString Technologies).


The mean number of HEVs in pre-NAC biopsies was 12 (range, 0 to 72). The amounts of TILs and TLSs, HEV density, and CXCL13 expression showed robust correlations with each other. A lower pre-NAC clinical T stage, higher TIL and TLS levels, a higher HEV density, CD20-positive cell density, and CXCL13 expression were significant predictors of a pathologic complete response (pCR). Higher CD8-positive cell density and levels of CXCL13 expression were significantly associated with a better disease-free survival rate.


MECA79-positive HEV density in pre-NAC biopsies is an objective and quantitative surrogate marker of TLS and might be a valuable tool for predicting pCR of TNBC in routine pathology practice.


Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis; Tertiary lymphoid structure; Triple-negative breast neoplasms

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Publishing M2Community Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center