Researchers say the presence of CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes may mean a good prognosis in some early-stage breast cancers, especially in cases that normally come with a poor prognosis—those that are high grade, basal-like, estrogen-negative, and her2-positive.

The research, on tumors from 3992 breast cancer patients, was published in the March 15, 2012 Breast Cancer Research

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes can help the body’s immune system fight cancer, which is why the presence of CD8 could come with positive survival rates.  This could ultimately help doctors determine more specific survival risks for tumors that are now lumped together as once group, with the group usually called aggressive. Basal-like tumors with CD8 might not be aggressive at all.  The positive prognosis did not extend to non-basal tumors.

“ER- breast cancers have worse prognosis than those that are ER+, but not all ER- breast cancer patients have poor survival,” researchers wrote.  In the Discussion section of the report, they cite additional research on gene expression and its value in developing prognoses for estrogen-negative breast cancers.

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