Papillary thyroid carcinoma behavior: clues in the tumor microenvironment.

Bergdorf K, Ferguson DC, Mehrad M, Ely K, Stricker T, Weiss VL
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2019 26 (6): 601-614

PMID: 30965283 · DOI:10.1530/ERC-19-0074

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.

MeSH Terms (17)

Adolescent Adult Aged Aged, 80 and over Biomarkers, Tumor Female Follow-Up Studies Humans Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating Male Middle Aged Mutation Prognosis Thyroid Cancer, Papillary Thyroid Neoplasms Tumor Microenvironment Young Adult

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