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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 1750925, 7 pages
Research Article

PD-L1 Expression in TNBC: A Predictive Biomarker of Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy?

1Department of Radiological, Oncological and Pathological Sciences, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2Oncology Unit, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
3Department of Surgery, San Giovanni-Addolorata, Rome, Italy
4Department of Surgical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
5Department of Statistical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
6Department of Pathology, San Giovanni-Addolorata, Rome, Italy
7Department of Oncology, San Giovanni-Addolorata, Rome, Italy
8Oncology Unit, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Giulia d’Amati; ti.1amorinu@itamad.ailuig

Bruna Cerbelli and Angelina Pernazza contributed equally to this work.

Received 8 August 2017; Accepted 19 November 2017; Published 14 December 2017

Academic Editor: Maria L. Gasparri

Copyright © 2017 Bruna Cerbelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) has an aggressive clinical behaviour, with a poorer prognosis compared to other subtypes. Recently, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have been proposed as a predictive biomarker for a better clinical outcome and pathological response (pR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) in TNBC. These data confirm the role of the immune system in the neoplastic progression and in the response to therapy. We performed a retrospective analysis of 54 pre-NACT biopsies of TNBC and compared both the percentage of stromal TILs and the degree of PD-L1 expression with the extent of pR to standard NACT. A pathological complete response (pCR) was achieved in 35% of cases. Univariate analysis showed (i) a significant association between PD-L1 expression in ≥25% of neoplastic cells and the achievement of a pCR (); (ii) a significantly higher frequency of pCR in cases showing ≥50% stromal TILs (). However in the multivariate analysis only PD-L1 expression on tumor cells remained significantly associated with pCR (OR = 1,13; 95% CI 1,01–1,27), suggesting that the expression of this biomarker could be associated with a subpopulation of TNBC more likely to respond to chemotherapy. These data need to be confirmed by larger studies.