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      In situ tumor PD-L1 mRNA expression is associated with increased TILs and better outcome in breast carcinomas.

      Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

      Antigens, CD274, genetics, metabolism, Breast Neoplasms, pathology, Cell Line, Tumor, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, methods, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Lymphatic Metastasis, Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Prognosis, RNA, Messenger, Receptor, ErbB-2, Receptors, Estrogen, Tissue Array Analysis

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          Blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis emerged as a promising new therapeutic option for cancer that has resulted in lasting responses in metastatic renal, lung carcinomas, and melanomas. Tumor PD-L1 protein expression may predict response to drugs targeting this pathway. Measurement of PD-L1 protein is limited by the lack of standardized immunohistochemical methods and variable performance of antibodies. Our goal was to correlate PD-L1 mRNA expression with clinical variables in primary breast carcinomas. The fluorescent RNAscope paired-primer assay was used to quantify in situ PD-L1 mRNA levels in 636 stage I-III breast carcinomas on two sets of tissue microarrays [YTMA128 (n = 238) and YTMA201 (n = 398)]. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) were assessed by hematoxylin/eosin stain and quantitative fluorescence. On YTMA128 and YTMA201, 55.7% and 59.5% of cases showed PD-L1 mRNA expression, respectively. Higher PD-L1 mRNA expression was significantly associated with increased TILs (P = 0.04) but not with other clinical variables. Elevated TILs (scores 2 and 3+) occurred in 16.5% on YTMA128 and 14.8% on YTMA201 and was associated with estrogen receptor-negative status (P = 0.01 on YTMA128 and 0.0001 on YTMA201). PD-L1 mRNA expression was associated with longer recurrence-free survival (log-rank P = 0.01), which remained significant in multivariate analysis including age, tumor size, histologic grade, nodal metastasis, hormone receptor, HER2 status, and the extent of TILs (HR, 0.268; CI, 0.099-0.721; P = 0.009). PD-L1 mRNA expression is identified in nearly 60% of breast tumors and it is associated with increased TILs and improved recurrence-free survival. These observations support the evaluation of PD-1/PD-L1-targeted therapies in breast cancer. ©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.

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