Immune cell infiltrates in atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors

Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Sep;39(5):605-12. doi: 10.1017/s031716710001533x.


Objective: Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) is a highly malignant tumor of the central nervous system. Its pathogenesis remains unknown. Like glioblastomas, AT/RTs contain brain cancer stem cells (CSCs) that suppress the immunity of patients and are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Considerable infiltration of immune cells, including macrophages/microglia, dendritic cells and T-cells, has been noted in glioblastomas, which correlates with poor prognosis. The present study examines the significance of infiltrating immune cells in four cases of AT/RT; including one associated with an autoimmune disease, Henoch-Schonlein purpura.

Methods: Tumor tissues from four patients with AT/RT were analyzed and compared with those from four patients with glioblastomas. The frequency of immune cells, including CD68+, CD4+, and CD8+ cells, was assessed by scoring for statistical analysis.

Results: The infiltration of immune cells was identified in the case of AT/RT associated with HSP and three other cases of infratentorial AT/RTs. Moderate infiltration of CD68+ macrophages/microglia and CD4+ cells was noted in AT/RTs with no significant difference from that in glioblastomas (p > 0.05). However, the infiltration of CD8+ T-cells was significantly higher in AT/RTs than that in glioblastomas (p < 0.05); CD4+/CD8+ ratio was significantly lower in AT/RTs than that in glioblastomas (p < 0.05). In addition, eosinophils were found in all AT/RTs, but not in glioblastomas.

Conclusions: These findings suggest an immune microenvironment of AT/RTs with more immune effectors than glioblastomas. Our observation contributes to understanding the growth environment of AT/RTs for which adjuvant immunotherapy may be potentially beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / diagnosis
  • Glioblastoma / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antigens, CD
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins