The immune score as a new possible approach for the classification of cancer

J Transl Med. 2012 Jan 3:10:1. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-10-1.


The outcome prediction in cancer is usually achieved by evaluating tissue samples obtained during surgical removal of the primary tumor focusing on their histopathological characteristics. Tumor staging (AJCC/UICC-TNM classification) summarizes data on tumor burden (T), presence of cancer cells in draining and regional lymph nodes (N), and evidence for metastases (M). However, this classification provides limited prognostic information in estimating the outcome in cancer and does not predict response to therapy. It is recognized that cancer outcomes can vary significantly among patients within the same stage. Recently, many reports suggest that cancer development is controlled by the host's immune system underlying the importance of including immunological biomarkers for the prediction of prognosis and response to therapy. Data collected from large cohorts of human cancers demonstrated that the immune-classification has a prognostic value that may be superior to the AJCC/UICC TNM-classification. Thus, it is imperative to begin incorporating immune scoring as a prognostic factor and to introduce this parameter as a marker to classify cancers, as part of the routine diagnostic and prognostic assessment of tumors. At the same time, the inherent complexity of quantitative immunohistochemistry, in conjunction with variable assay protocols across laboratories, the different immune cell types analyzed, different region selection criteria, and variable ways to quantify immune infiltration underscore the urgent need to reach assay harmonization. In an effort to promote the immunoscore in routine clinical settings worldwide, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, the Cancer and Inflammation Program, the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA and "La Fondazione Melanoma" will jointly initiate a task force on Immunoscoring as a New Possible Approach for the Classification of Cancer that will take place in Naples, Italy, February 13th, 2012. The expected outcome will include a concept manuscript that will be distributed to all interested participants for their contribution before publication outlining the goal and strategy to achieve this effort; a preliminary summary to be presented during the "Workshop on Tumor Microenvironment" prior to the SITC annual meeting on October 24th - 25th 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland, USA and finally a "Workshop on Immune Scoring" to be held in Naples in December of 2012 leading to the preparation of a summary document providing recommendations for the harmonization and implementation of the Immune Score as a new component for the classification of cancer.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Advisory Committees
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / classification*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment