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BACKGROUND - Approximately 10% of patients with SCLC develop a paraneoplastic syndrome (PNS). Neurologic PNS are thought to improve prognosis, which we hypothesized is related to increased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and immune recognition.
METHODS - We queried 2,512,042 medical records from a single institution to identify patients who have SCLC with and without PNS and performed manual, retrospective chart review. We then performed multiplexed fluorescence immunohistochemistry and automated quantitative analysis (AQUA Technology) on tumors to assess CD3, CD4, and CD8 T cell infiltrates and programmed death 1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) interactions. T cell infiltrates and PD-1/PD-L1 interaction scores were compared among patients with neurologic PNS, endocrinologic PNS, and a control group without PNS. Clinical outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards models.
RESULTS - We evaluated 145 SCLC patients: 55 with PNS (25 neurologic and 30 endocrinologic) and 90 controls. Patients with neurologic PNS experienced improved overall survival compared to patients with endocrinologic PNS and controls (median overall survival of 24 months versus 12 months versus 13 months, respectively). Of the 145 patients, we identified tumor tissue from 34 patients that was adequate for AQUA analysis. Among 37 specimens from these 34 patients, patients with neurologic PNS had increased T cell infiltrates (p = 0.033) and PD-1/PD-L1 interaction (p = 0.014) compared to tumors from patients with endocrinologic PNS or controls.
CONCLUSIONS - Tumor tissue from patients with SCLC with neurologic PNS showed increased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and PD-1/PD-L1 interaction consistent with an inflamed tumor microenvironment.
Copyright © 2019 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The prevalence of thyroid carcinoma is increasing and represents the most common endocrine malignancy, with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) being the most frequent subtype. The genetic alterations identified in PTCs fail to distinguish tumors with different clinical behaviors, such as extra-thyroidal extension and lymph node metastasis. We hypothesize that the immune microenvironment may play a critical role in tumor invasion and metastasis. Computational immunogenomic analysis was performed on 568 PTC samples in The Cancer Genome Atlas using CIBERSORT, TIMER and TIDE deconvolution analytic tools for characterizing immune cell composition. Immune cell infiltrates were correlated with histologic type, mutational type, tumor pathologic T stage and lymph node N stage. Dendritic cells (DCs) are highly associated with more locally advanced tumor T stage (T3/T4, odds ratio (OR) = 2.6, CI = 1.4-4.5, P = 5.4 × 10-4). Increased dendritic cells (OR = 3.4, CI = 1.9-6.3, P = 5.5 × 10-5) and neutrophils (OR = 10.5, CI = 2.7-44, P = 8.7 × 10-4) significantly correlate with lymph node metastasis. In addition, dendritic cells positively correlate with tall cell morphology (OR = 4.5, CI = 1.6-13, P = 4.9 × 10-3) and neutrophils negatively correlate with follicular morphology (OR = 1.3 × 10-3, CI = 5.3 × 10-5-0.031, P = 4.1 × 10-5). TIDE analysis indicates an immune-exclusive phenotype that may be mediated by increased galectin-3 found in PTCs. Thus, characterization of the PTC immune microenvironment using three computational platforms shows that specific immune cells correlate with mutational type, histologic type, local tumor extent and lymph node metastasis. Immunologic evaluation of PTCs may provide a better indication of biologic behavior, resulting in the improved diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer.
In the context of solid tumors, there is a positive correlation between the accumulation of cytotoxic CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and favorable clinical outcomes. However, CD8 TILs often exhibit a state of functional exhaustion, limiting their activity, and the underlying molecular basis of this dysfunction is not fully understood. Here, we show that TILs found in human and murine CD8 melanomas are metabolically compromised with deficits in both glycolytic and oxidative metabolism. Although several studies have shown that tumors can outcompete T cells for glucose, thus limiting T cell metabolic activity, we report that a down-regulation in the activity of ENOLASE 1, a critical enzyme in the glycolytic pathway, represses glycolytic activity in CD8 TILs. Provision of pyruvate, a downstream product of ENOLASE 1, bypasses this inactivity and promotes both glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, resulting in improved effector function of CD8 TILs. We found high expression of both enolase 1 mRNA and protein in CD8 TILs, indicating that the enzymatic activity of ENOLASE 1 is regulated posttranslationally. These studies provide a critical insight into the biochemical basis of CD8 TIL dysfunction.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
BACKGROUND - There is the need to identify new prognostic markers to refine risk stratification for HER2-positive early breast cancer patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) with distant disease-free survival (DDFS) in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer enrolled in the ShortHER adjuvant trial which compared 9 weeks versus 1-year trastuzumab in addition to chemotherapy, and to test the interaction between TILs and treatment arm.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - Stromal TILs were assessed for 866 cases on centralized hematoxylin and eosin-stained tumor slides. The association of TILs as 10% increments with DDFS was assessed with Cox models. Kaplan-Meier curves were estimated for patients with TILs ≥20% and TILs <20%. Median follow-up was 6.1 years.
RESULTS - Median TILs was 5% (Q1-Q3 1%-15%). Increased TILs were independently associated with better DDFS in multivariable model [hazard ratio (HR) 0.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.59-0.89, P = 0.006, for each 10% TILs increment]. Five years DDFS rates were 91.1% for patients with TILs <20% and 95.7% for patients with TILs ≥20% (P = 0.025). The association between 10% TILs increments and DDFS was significant for patients randomized to 9 weeks of trastuzumab (HR 0.60, 95% CI 0.41-0.88) but not for patients treated with 1 year of trastuzumab (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.71-1.12; test for interaction P = 0.088). For patients with TILs <20%, the HR for the comparison between the short versus the long arm was 1.75 (95% CI 1.09-2.80, P=0.021); whereas, for patients with TILs ≥20% the HR for the comparison of short versus long arm was 0.23 (95% CI 0.05-1.09, P = 0.064), resulting in a significant interaction (P = 0.015).
CONCLUSIONS - TILs are an independent prognostic factor for HER2-positive early breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and trastuzumab and may refine the ability to identify patients at low risk of relapse eligible for de-escalated adjuvant therapy.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology.
Cancer immunotherapies that remove checkpoint restraints on adaptive immunity are gaining clinical momentum but have not achieved widespread success in breast cancers, a tumor type considered poorly immunogenic and which harbors a decreased presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Approaches that activate innate immunity in breast cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment are of increasing interest, based on their ability to induce immunogenic tumor cell death, type I IFNs, and lymphocyte-recruiting chemokines. In agreement with reports in other cancers, we observe loss, downregulation, or mutation of the innate viral nucleotide sensor retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I/) in only 1% of clinical breast cancers, suggesting potentially widespread applicability for therapeutic RIG-I agonists that activate innate immunity. This was tested using an engineered RIG-I agonist in a breast cancer cell panel representing each of three major clinical breast cancer subtypes. Treatment with RIG-I agonist resulted in upregulation and mitochondrial localization of RIG-I and activation of proinflammatory transcription factors STAT1 and NF-κB. RIG-I agonist triggered the extrinsic apoptosis pathway and pyroptosis, a highly immunogenic form of cell death in breast cancer cells. RIG-I agonist also induced expression of lymphocyte-recruiting chemokines and type I IFN, confirming that cell death and cytokine modulation occur in a tumor cell-intrinsic manner. Importantly, RIG-I activation in breast tumors increased tumor lymphocytes and decreased tumor growth and metastasis. Overall, these findings demonstrate successful therapeutic delivery of a synthetic RIG-I agonist to induce tumor cell killing and to modulate the tumor microenvironment These findings describe the first in vivo delivery of RIG-I mimetics to tumors, demonstrating a potent immunogenic and therapeutic effect in the context of otherwise poorly immunogenic breast cancers. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
Beyond sample curation and basic pathologic characterization, the digitized H&E-stained images of TCGA samples remain underutilized. To highlight this resource, we present mappings of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) based on H&E images from 13 TCGA tumor types. These TIL maps are derived through computational staining using a convolutional neural network trained to classify patches of images. Affinity propagation revealed local spatial structure in TIL patterns and correlation with overall survival. TIL map structural patterns were grouped using standard histopathological parameters. These patterns are enriched in particular T cell subpopulations derived from molecular measures. TIL densities and spatial structure were differentially enriched among tumor types, immune subtypes, and tumor molecular subtypes, implying that spatial infiltrate state could reflect particular tumor cell aberration states. Obtaining spatial lymphocytic patterns linked to the rich genomic characterization of TCGA samples demonstrates one use for the TCGA image archives with insights into the tumor-immune microenvironment.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in triple-negative breast cancers is correlated with improved outcomes. Ras/MAPK pathway activation is associated with significantly lower levels of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in triple-negative breast cancers and while MEK inhibition can promote recruitment of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to the tumor, here we show that MEK inhibition adversely affects early onset T-cell effector function. We show that α-4-1BB and α-OX-40 T-cell agonist antibodies can rescue the adverse effects of MEK inhibition on T cells in both mouse and human T cells, which results in augmented anti-tumor effects in vivo. This effect is dependent upon increased downstream p38/JNK pathway activation. Taken together, our data suggest that although Ras/MAPK pathway inhibition can increase tumor immunogenicity, the negative impact on T-cell activity is functionally important. This undesirable impact is effectively prevented by combination with T-cell immune agonist immunotherapies resulting in superior therapeutic efficacy.MEK inhibition in breast cancer is associated with increased tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), however, MAPK activity is required for T cells function. Here the authors show that TILs activity following MEK inhibition can be enhanced by agonist immunotherapy resulting in synergic therapeutic effects.
Because of inherent disease heterogeneity, targeted therapies have eluded triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and biomarkers predictive of treatment response have not yet been identified. This study was designed to determine whether the mTOR inhibitor everolimus with cisplatin and paclitaxel would provide synergistic antitumor effects in TNBC. Patients with stage II/III TNBC were enrolled in a randomized phase II trial of preoperative weekly cisplatin, paclitaxel and daily everolimus or placebo for 12 weeks, until definitive surgery. Tumor specimens were obtained at baseline, cycle 1, and surgery. Primary endpoint was pathologic complete response (pCR); secondary endpoints included clinical responses, breast conservation rate, safety, and discovery of molecular features associated with outcome. Between 2009 and 2013, 145 patients were accrued; 36% of patients in the everolimus arm and 49% of patients in the placebo arm achieved pCR; in each arm, 50% of patients achieved complete responses by imaging. Higher rates of neutropenia, mucositis, and transaminase elevation were seen with everolimus. Clinical response to therapy and long-term outcome correlated with increased frequency of DNA damage response (DDR) gene mutations, Basal-like1 and Mesenchymal TNBC-subtypes, AR-negative status, and high Ki67, but not with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. The paclitaxel/cisplatin combination was well tolerated and active, but addition of everolimus was associated with more adverse events without improvement in pCR or clinical response. However, discoveries made from correlative studies could lead to predictive TNBC biomarkers that may impact clinical decision-making and provide new avenues for mechanistic exploration that could lead to clinical utility. .
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.
Tumor-induced immune tolerance poses a major challenge for therapeutic interventions aimed to manage cancer. We explored approaches to overcome T-cell suppression in murine breast and kidney adenocarcinomas, and lung fibrosarcoma expressing immunogenic antigens. We observed that treatment with a reversible proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (1 mg/kg body weight) in tumor-bearing mice significantly enhanced the expression of lymphocyte-stimulatory cytokines IL-2, IL-12, and IL-15. Notably, bortezomib administration reduced pulmonary nodules of mammary adenocarcinoma 4T1.2 expressing hemagglutinin (HA) model antigen (4T1HA) in mice. Neutralization of IL-12 and IL-15 cytokines with a regimen of blocking antibodies pre- and post-adoptive transfer of low-avidity HA518-526-specific CD8+T-cells following intravenous injection of 4T1HA cells increased the number of pulmonary tumor nodules. This neutralization effect was counteracted by the tumor metastasis-suppressing action of bortezomib treatments. In bortezomib-treated 4T1HA tumor-bearing mice, CD4+T-cells showed increased IL-2 production, CD11c+ dendritic cells showed increased IL-12 and IL-15 production, and HA-specific activated CD8+T-cells showed enhanced expression of IFNγ, granzyme-B and transcription factor eomesodermin. We also noted a trend of increased expression of IL-2, IL-12 and IL-15 receptors as well as increased phosphorylation of STAT5 in tumor-infiltrating CD8+T-cells following bortezomib treatment. Furthermore, bortezomib-treated CD8+T-cells showed increased phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase p38, and Akt, which was abrogated by phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor. These data support the therapeutic potential of bortezomib in conjunction with other immunotherapies to augment the strength of convergent signals from CD8+T-cell signaling molecules including TCR, cytokine receptors and downstream PI3K/Akt/STAT5 pathways to sustain CD8+T-cell effector function in the tumor microenvironment.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease that can be classified into distinct molecular subtypes by gene expression profiling. Considered a difficult-to-treat cancer, a fraction of TNBC patients benefit significantly from neoadjuvant chemotherapy and have far better overall survival. Outside of BRCA1/2 mutation status, biomarkers do not exist to identify patients most likely to respond to current chemotherapy; and, to date, no FDA-approved targeted therapies are available for TNBC patients. Previously, we developed an approach to identify six molecular subtypes TNBC (TNBCtype), with each subtype displaying unique ontologies and differential response to standard-of-care chemotherapy. Given the complexity of the varying histological landscape of tumor specimens, we used histopathological quantification and laser-capture microdissection to determine that transcripts in the previously described immunomodulatory (IM) and mesenchymal stem-like (MSL) subtypes were contributed from infiltrating lymphocytes and tumor-associated stromal cells, respectively. Therefore, we refined TNBC molecular subtypes from six (TNBCtype) into four (TNBCtype-4) tumor-specific subtypes (BL1, BL2, M and LAR) and demonstrate differences in diagnosis age, grade, local and distant disease progression and histopathology. Using five publicly available, neoadjuvant chemotherapy breast cancer gene expression datasets, we retrospectively evaluated chemotherapy response of over 300 TNBC patients from pretreatment biopsies subtyped using either the intrinsic (PAM50) or TNBCtype approaches. Combined analysis of TNBC patients demonstrated that TNBC subtypes significantly differ in response to similar neoadjuvant chemotherapy with 41% of BL1 patients achieving a pathological complete response compared to 18% for BL2 and 29% for LAR with 95% confidence intervals (CIs; [33, 51], [9, 28], [17, 41], respectively). Collectively, we provide pre-clinical data that could inform clinical trials designed to test the hypothesis that improved outcomes can be achieved for TNBC patients, if selection and combination of existing chemotherapies is directed by knowledge of molecular TNBC subtypes.