Encouraging Early Results for Use of Immunotherapy in Triple-Neg Breast Cancer

"Accumulating evidence suggests that immune checkpoint inhibitors may be effective in the treatment of breast cancer, particularly triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Research has demonstrated that about 20% of TNBC specimens express PD-L1, which has been shown to be a reliable predictive biomarker of immune checkpoint efficacy. In addition to tumor PD-L1 expression, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have been shown to correlate with response to checkpoint blockade. Recent studies suggest that about 90% of TNBC tumors have at least one stromal TIL, with 20% on average. While the updated response rate from the KEYNOTE-012 study was not particularly impressive (18.5%), the duration of response from pembrolizumab in patients with PD-L1-positive TNBC was noteworthy in a subset of patients. Further research will need to better assess the characteristics of patients who responded to checkpoint inhibition in this study. Moreover, novel studies testing new strategies to augment the T-cell response prior to checkpoint blockade (i.e., with chemotherapy or peptide vaccines) will elucidate alternative approaches to ensure the most robust response to this new breakthrough therapy."

This article was a collaboration between MedPage Today and ASCO.  Meghan Mooradian, MD, Clinical and Reserach Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital is the author.


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