American Association for Cancer Research
10780432ccr203299-sup-249849_3_supp_6667160_qvlvwm.docx (24.37 kB)

Supplementary Data from Immune Infiltrate in the Primary Tumor Predicts Effect of Adjuvant Radiotherapy in Breast Cancer; Results from the Randomized SweBCG91RT Trial

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-31, 22:25 authored by Axel Stenmark Tullberg, Henri A.J. Puttonen, Martin Sjöström, Erik Holmberg, S. Laura Chang, Felix Y. Feng, Corey Speers, Lori J. Pierce, Dan Lundstedt, Fredrika Killander, Emma Niméus, Anikó Kovács, Per Karlsson

Study protocol


Swedish Cancer Society

King Gustav V Jubilee Clinic Foundation



Tumor-infiltrating immune cells play a key role in tumor progression. The purpose of this study was to analyze whether the immune infiltrate predicts benefit from postoperative radiotherapy in a large randomized breast cancer radiotherapy trial. In the SweBCG91RT trial, patients with stage I and II breast cancer were randomized to breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and postoperative radiotherapy or to BCS only and followed for a median time of 15.2 years. The primary tumor immune infiltrate was quantified through two independent methods: IHC and gene expression profiling. For IHC analyses, the absolute stromal area occupied by CD8+ T cells and FOXP3+ T cells, respectively, was used to define the immune infiltrate. For gene expression analyses, immune cells found to be prognostic in independent datasets were pooled into two groups consisting of antitumoral and protumoral immune cells, respectively. An antitumoral immune response in the primary tumor was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and predicted less benefit from adjuvant radiotherapy. The interaction between radiotherapy and immune phenotype was significant for any recurrence in both the IHC and gene expression analyses (P = 0.039 and P = 0.035) and was also significant for ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence in the gene expression analyses (P = 0.025). Patients with an antitumoral immune infiltrate in the primary tumor have a reduced risk of any recurrence and may derive less benefit from adjuvant radiotherapy. These results may impact decisions regarding postoperative radiotherapy in early breast cancer.