Background: Invasive breast cancer (IBC) has long been thought as non-immunogenic, but in recent decades it has been reported that tumour micro-environment (TME) in breast cancer encompasses tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), which help in creating anti-tumor immune response. On the other hand, tumor buddings (TB) from the invasive front of the tumor contribute to invasion and metastasis. We aim to evaluate TILs and TB in IBC and to correlate them with known prognostic parameters.
Methods: In this retrospective study, 50 cases of IBC were included. TILs and TB were observed and graded in H&E Stained slides following standard guidelines. Associations of TILs and TB with known clinicopathological parameters were established by statistical methods.
Results: The majority of cases were invasive breast carcinoma (IBC)-NST (78%). The cases with low TILs (involving <50% of stroma) had a significant correlation with positive lymph node metastasis (P = 0.017) and high-grade TB (P = 0.038). TB was associated with other adverse prognostic parameters such as tumor necrosis (P=0.043) and lympho-vascular invasion (LVI) (P=0.033) and large tumor size.
Conclusion: As tumor budding is associated with known poor prognostic factors such as necrosis, LVI and large tumor size, it can be regarded as a potential biomarker in predicting the aggressiveness of breast cancer. Low TILs are positively associated with invasion and lymph node metastasis of IBC. Thus, assessment of these protumor (TB) and antitumor (TILs) factors could be a promising approach for future research on breast cancer.
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