Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Stromal Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes: Prognostic Indicator in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

According to research presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019 (Abstract 175O) and published in the Annals of Oncology, a high percentage of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes may be a strong indicator of favorable prognosis in patients with stage I triple-negative breast cancer. “Stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes provide important prognostic information in systemically untreated early-stage triple-negative breast cancer patients,” concluded Ji Hyun Park, MD, of the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul, and colleagues. “They may be used to identify stage I triple-negative breast cancer patients with excellent prognosis in whom chemotherapy may be withheld.”

The study included data collected from 528 patients with triple-negative breast cancer who had not undergone chemotherapy, 83% of whom had node-negative disease. Among all patients, the median level of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes was 10%, with an association between higher levels (P < 10-3) and a higher tumor grade. Grade 3 tumors were present in 50% of patients, whereas grade 1 tumors were found in 12% and grade 2 tumors were found in 38%. The overall median tumor size was 1.6 cm.

During follow-up, the endpoints of invasive disease–free, distant disease–free, and overall survival were analyzed. The presence of varying levels of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were meaningful prognostic tools for all three endpoints. According to investigators, “Each 10% increment in stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes corresponded to a hazard ratio of 0.90 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.82–0.97) for invasive disease–free survival, 0.86 (95% CI = 0.77–0.95) for distant disease–free survival, and 0.88 (95% CI = 0.79–0.98) for overall survival. In patients with stage I tumors with stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes of at least 30% (n = 74), 5-year invasive disease–free survival was 91% (95% CI = 84%–98%), distant disease–free survival was 97% (95% CI = 93%–100%), and overall survival was 98% (95% CI = 95%–100%).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of study authors, visit

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.