The number and microlocalization of tumor-associated immune cells are associated with patient's survival time in non-small cell lung cancer

BMC Cancer. 2010 May 20;10:220. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-220.

Abstract

Background: Tumor microenvironment is composed of tumor cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and infiltrating immune cells. Tumor-associated immune cells may inhibit or promote tumor growth and progression. This study was conducted to determine whether the number and microlocalization of macrophages, mature dendritic cells and cytotoxic T cells in non-small cell lung cancer are associated with patient's survival time.

Methods: Ninety-nine patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were included in this retrospective study. Paraffin-embedded NSCLC specimens and their clinicopathological data including up to 8-year follow-up information were used. Immunohistochemical staining for CD68 (marker for macrophages), CD83 (marker for mature dendritic cells), and CD8 (marker for cytotoxic T cells) was performed and evaluated in a blinded fashion. The numbers of immune cells in tumor islets and stroma, tumor islets, or tumor stroma were counted under a microscope. Correlation of the cell numbers and patient's survival time was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (version 13.0).

Results: The numbers of macrophages, mature dendritic cells and cytotoxic T cells were significantly more in the tumor stroma than in the tumor islets. The number of macrophages in the tumor islets was positively associated with patient's survival time, whereas the number of macrophages in the tumor stroma was negatively associated with patient's survival time in both univariate and multivariate analyses. The number of mature dendritic cells in the tumor islets and stroma, tumor islets only, or tumor stroma only was positively associated with patient's survival time in a univariate analysis but not in a multivariate analysis. The number of cytotoxic T cells in the tumor islets and stroma was positively associated with patient's survival time in a univariate analysis but not in a multivariate analysis. The number of cytotoxic T cells in the tumor islets only or stroma only was not associated with patient's survival time.

Conclusions: The number of macrophages in the tumor islets or stroma is an independent predictor of survival time in NSCLC patients. Counting macrophages in the tumor islets or stroma is more useful in predicting patient's survival time than counting mature dendritic cells or cytotoxic T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality*
  • Cell Count
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD68 antigen, human
  • CD8 Antigens
  • CD83 antigen
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins