Prognostic significance of tumour infiltrating B lymphocytes in breast ductal carcinoma in situ

Histopathology. 2017 Aug;71(2):258-268. doi: 10.1111/his.13217. Epub 2017 May 26.


Aims: Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are an important component of the immune response to cancer and have a prognostic value in breast cancer. Although several studies have investigated the role of T lymphocytes in breast cancer, the role of B lymphocytes (TIL-Bs) in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) remains uncertain. This study aimed to assess the role of TIL-Bs in DCIS.

Methods and results: Eighty DCIS cases (36 pure DCIS and 44 mixed with invasive cancer) were stained immunohistochemically for B lineage markers CD19, CD20 and the plasma cell marker CD138. TIL-Bs density and localization were assessed, including relation to the in-situ and invasive components. An association with clinicopathological data and patient outcome was performed. Pure DCIS showed a higher number of TIL-Bs and lymphoid aggregates than DCIS associated with invasion. In pure DCIS, a higher number of peri- and paratumoral TIL-Bs was associated significantly with large tumour size (P = 0.016), hormone receptor (ER/PR) negative (P = 0.008) and HER2+ status (P = 0.010). In tumours with mixed DCIS and invasive components, cases with high-density B lymphocytes, irrespective of their location or topographic distribution, were associated significantly with variables of poor prognosis, including larger size, high grade, lymphovascular invasion, lymph node metastases, ER/PR-negative and HER2+ status. Outcome analysis showed that pure DCIS associated with higher numbers of B lymphocytes had shorter recurrence-free interval (P = 0.04); however, the association was not significant with the CD138+ plasma cell count (P = 0.07).

Conclusion: Assessment of TIL-B cells based on location and topographic distribution can provide prognostic information. Validation in a larger cohort is warranted.

Keywords: DCIS; B lymphocytes; breast cancer; duct carcinoma in situ.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies