The tale of TILs in breast cancer: A report from The International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group.
The advent of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) in modern oncology has significantly improved survival in several cancer settings. A subgroup of women with breast cancer (BC) has immunogenic infiltration of lymphocytes with expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). These patients may potentially benefit from ICI targeting the programmed death 1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 signaling axis. The use of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) as predictive and prognostic biomarkers has been under intense examination. Emerging data suggest that TILs are associated with response to both cytotoxic treatments and immunotherapy, particularly for patients with triple-negative BC. In this review from The International Immuno-Oncology Biomarker Working Group, we discuss (a) the biological understanding of TILs, (b) their analytical and clinical validity and efforts toward the clinical utility in BC, and (c) the current status of PD-L1 and TIL testing across different continents, including experiences from low-to-middle-income countries, incorporating also the view of a patient advocate. This information will help set the stage for future approaches to optimize the understanding and clinical utilization of TIL analysis in patients with BC.