Detailed characterization of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in two distinct human solid malignancies show phenotypic similarities

Magdalena Kovacsovics-Bankowski, Lana Chisholm, Jonna Vercellini, Christopher G. Tucker, Ryan Montler, Daniel Haley, Philippa Newell, Jun Ma, Paul Tseng, Ronald Wolf, John T. Vetto, Chet Hammill, Paul Hansen, Andrew D. Weinberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: We examined the phenotype and function of lymphocytes collected from the peripheral blood (PBL) and tumor (TIL) of patients with two different solid malignancies: colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM) and ovarian cancer (OVC).Methods: Tumor and corresponding peripheral blood were collected from 16 CRLM and 22 OVC patients; immediately following resection they were processed and analyzed using a multi-color flow cytometry panel. Cytokine mRNA from purified PBL and TIL CD4+ T cells were also analyzed by qPCR.Results: Overall, we found similar changes in the phenotypic and cytokine profiles when the TIL were compared to PBL from patients with two different malignancies. The percentage of Treg (CD4+/CD25+/FoxP3+) in PBL and TIL was similar: 8.1% versus 10.2%, respectively in CRLM patients. However, the frequency of Treg in primary OVC TIL was higher than PBL: 19.2% versus 4.5% (p <0.0001). A subpopulation of Treg expressing HLA-DR was markedly increased in TIL compared to PBL in both tumor types, CRLM: 69.0% versus 31.7% (p = 0.0002) and OVC 74.6% versus 37.0% (p <0.0001), which suggested preferential Treg activation within the tumor. The cytokine mRNA profile showed that IL-6, a cytokine known for its immunosuppressive properties through STAT3 upregulation, was increased in TIL samples in patients with OVC and CRLM. Both TIL populations also contained a significantly higher proportion of activated CD8+ T cells (HLA-DR+/CD38+) compared to PBL (CRLM: 30.2% vs 7.7%, (p = 0.0012), OVC: 57.1% vs 12.0%, (p <0.0001)).Conclusion: This study demonstrates that multi-color flow cytometry of freshly digested tumor samples reveals phenotypic differences in TIL vs PBL T cell sub-populations. The TIL composition in primary and metastatic tumors from two distinct histologies were remarkably similar, showing a greater proportion of activated/suppressive Treg (HLA-DR+, CD39+, CTLA-4+ and Helios+) and activated cytotoxic T cells (CD8+/HLA-DR+/CD38+) when compared to PBL and an increase in IL-6 mRNA from CD4 TIL.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number38
    JournalJournal for immunotherapy of cancer
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 18 2014

    Keywords

    • Regulatory T cells
    • Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology and Allergy
    • Immunology
    • Molecular Medicine
    • Oncology
    • Pharmacology
    • Cancer Research

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