Objectives: Immunostimulatory therapies using immune checkpoint blockers show clinical activity in a subset of glioblastoma (GBM) patients. Several inhibitory mechanisms play a relevant role in the immune response to GBM. With the objective of analyzing the tumor immune microenvironment and its clinical significance, we quantified several relevant immune biomarkers. Design: We studied 76 primary (non-recurrent) GBMs with sufficient clinical follow-up, including a subgroup of patients treated with a dendritic cell vaccine. The IDH-mutation, EGFR-amplification, and MGMT methylation statuses were determined. Several relevant immune biomarkers, including CD163, CD8, PD1, and PDL1, were quantified in representative selected areas by digital image analysis and semiquantitative evaluation. The percentage of each immune expression was calculated with respect to the total number of tumor cells. Results: All GBMs were wild-type IDH, with a subgroup of classical GBMs according to the EGFR amplification (44%). Morphologically, CD163 immunostained microglia and intratumor clusters of macrophages were observed. A significant direct correlation was found between the expression of CD8 and the mechanisms of lymphocyte immunosuppression, in such a way that higher values of CD8 were directly associated with higher values of CD163 (p < 0.001), PDL1 (0.026), and PD1 (0.007). In a multivariate analysis, high expressions of CD8+ (HR = 2.05, 95%CI (1.02-4.13), p = 0.034) and CD163+ cells (HR 2.50, 95%CI (1.29-4.85), p = 0.007), were associated with shorter survival durations. The expression of immune biomarkers was higher in the non-classical (non-EGFR amplified tumors) GBMs. Other relevant prognostic factors were age, receipt of the dendritic cell vaccine, and MGMT methylation status. Conclusions: In accordance with the inverse correlation between CD8 and survival and the direct correlation between effector cells and CD163 macrophages and immune-checkpoint expression, we postulate that CD8 infiltration could be placed in a state of anergy or lymphocytic inefficient activity. Furthermore, the significant inverse correlation between CD163 tissue concentration and survival explains the relevance of this type of immune cell when creating a strong immunosuppressive environment. This information may potentially be used to support the selection of patients for immunotherapy.
JOURNAL OF PATHOLOGY
426 - 436
Endometrial tumors show substantial heterogeneity in their immune microenvironment. This heterogeneity could be used to improve the accuracy of current outcome prediction tools. We assessed the immune microenvironment of 235 patients diagnosed with low-grade, early-stage endometrial cancer. Multiplex quantitative immunofluorescence was carried out to measure CD8, CD68, FOXP3, PD-1, and PD-L1 markers, as well as cytokeratin (CK), on tissue microarrays. Clustering results revealed five robust immune response patterns, each associated with specific immune populations, cell phenotypes, and cell spatial clustering. Most samples (69%) belonged to the immune-desert subtype, characterized by low immune cell densities. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL)-rich samples (4%) displayed high CD8(+) T-cell infiltration, as well as a high percentage of CD8/PD-1(+) cells. Immune-exclusion samples (19%) displayed the lowest CD8(+) infiltration combined with high PD-L1 expression levels in CK+ tumor cells. In addition, they demonstrated high tumor cell spatial clustering as well as increased spatial proximity of CD8(+)/PD-1(+) and CK/PD-L1(+) cells. FOXP3 and macrophage-rich phenotypes (3% and 4% of total samples) displayed relatively high levels of FOXP3(+) regulatory T-cells and CD68(+) macrophages, respectively. These phenotypes correlated with clinical outcomes, with immune-exclusion tumors showing an association with tumor relapse. When compared with prediction models built using routine pathological variables, models optimized with immune variables showed increased outcome prediction capacity (AUC = 0.89 versus 0.78) and stratification potential. The improved prediction capacity was independent of mismatch repair protein status and adjuvant radiotherapy treatment. Further, immunofluorescence results could be partially recapitulated using single-marker immunohistochemistry (IHC) performed on whole tissue sections. TIL-rich tumors demonstrated increased CD8(+) T-cells by IHC, while immune-exclusion tumors displayed a lack of CD8(+) T-cells and frequent expression of PD-L1 in tumor cells. Our results demonstrate the capability of the immune microenvironment to improve standard prediction tools in low-grade, early-stage endometrial carcinomas.