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Title: Lymphocytic infiltration in stage II microsatellite stable colorectal tumors: A retrospective prognosis biomarker analysis
Author: Sanz Pamplona, Rebeca
Melas, Marilena
Maoz, Asaf
Schmit, Stephanie L.
Rennert, Hedy
Lejbkowicz, Flavio
Greenson, Joel K.
Sanjuan, Xavier
López Zambrano, Maria
Alonso Aguado, Maria Henar
Qu, Chenxu
McDonnell, Kevin J.
Idos, Gregory E.
Vignali, Marissa
Emerson, Ryan
Fields, Paul
Guinó, Elisabet
Santos, Cristina
Salazar Soler, Ramón
Robins, Harlan S.
Rennert, Gad
Gruber, Stephen B.
Moreno Aguado, Víctor
Keywords: Càncer colorectal
Cèl·lules T
Marcadors bioquímics
Colorectal cancer
T cells
Biochemical markers
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2020
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Background: Identifying stage II patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) at higher risk of progression is a clinical priority in order to optimize the advantages of adjuvant chemotherapy while avoiding unnecessary toxicity. Recently, the intensity and the quality of the host immune response in the tumor microenvironment have been reported to have an important role in tumorigenesis and an inverse association with tumor progression. This association is well established in microsatellite instable CRC. In this work, we aim to assess the usefulness of measures of T-cell infiltration as prognostic biomarkers in 640 stage II, CRC tumors, 582 of them confirmed microsatellite stable. Methods and findings: We measured both the quantity and clonality index of T cells by means of T-cell receptor (TCR) immunosequencing in a discovery dataset (95 patients with colon cancer diagnosed at stage II and microsatellite stable, median age 67, 30% women) and replicated the results in 3 additional series of stage II patients from 2 countries. Series 1 and 2 were recruited in Barcelona, Spain and included 112 fresh frozen (FF, median age 69, 44% women) and 163 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE, median age 67, 39% women) samples, respectively. Series 3 included 270 FFPE samples from patients recruited in Haifa, Northern Israel, as part of a large case-control study of CRC (median age 73, 46% women). Median follow-up time was 81.1 months. Cox regression models were fitted to evaluate the prognostic value of T-cell abundance and Simpson clonality of TCR variants adjusting by sex, age, tumor location, and stage (IIA and IIB). In the discovery dataset, higher TCR abundance was associated with better prognosis (hazard ratio [HR] for ≥Q1 = 0.25, 95% CI 0.10-0.63, P = 0.003). A functional analysis of gene expression on these tumors revealed enrichment in pathways related to immune response. Higher values of clonality index (lower diversity) were not associated with worse disease-free survival, though the HR for ≥Q3 was 2.32 (95% CI 0.90-5.97, P = 0.08). These results were replicated in an independent FF dataset (TCR abundance: HR = 0.30, 95% CI 0.12-0.72, P = 0.007; clonality: HR = 3.32, 95% CI 1.38-7.94, P = 0.007). Also, the association with prognosis was tested in 2 independent FFPE datasets. The same association was observed with TCR abundance (HR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.18-0.93, P = 0.03 and HR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.31-1, P = 0.042, respectively, for each FFPE dataset). However, the clonality index was associated with prognosis only in the FFPE dataset from Israel (HR = 2.45, 95% CI 1.39-4.32, P = 0.002). Finally, a combined analysis combining all microsatellite stable (MSS) samples demonstrated a clear prognosis value both for TCR abundance (HR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.26-0.57, P = 1.3e-06) and the clonality index (HR = 2.13, 95% CI 1.44-3.15, P = 0.0002). These associations were also observed when variables were considered continuous in the models (HR per log2 of TCR abundance = 0.85, 95% CI 0.78-0.93, P = 0.0002; HR per log2 or clonality index = 1.16, 95% CI 1.03-1.31, P = 0.016). Limitations: This is a retrospective study, and samples had been preserved with different methods. Validation series lack complete information about microsatellite instability (MSI) status and pathology assessment. The Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study had information about overall survival instead of progression-free survival. Conclusion: Results from this study demonstrate that tumor lymphocytes, assessed by TCR repertoire quantification based on a sequencing method, are an independent prognostic factor in microsatellite stable stage II CRC.
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It is part of: PLoS Medicine, 2020, vol. 17, num. 9, p. e1003292
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Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Ciències Clíniques)
Articles publicats en revistes (Institut d'lnvestigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL))

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