Background: Meningiomas often harbor an immune cell infiltrate that can include substantial numbers of T and B cells. However, their phenotype and characteristics remain undefined. To gain a deeper understanding of the T and B cell repertoire in this tumor, we characterized the immune infiltrate of 28 resected meningiomas representing all grades.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry was used to grossly characterize and enumerate infiltrating lymphocytes. A molecular analysis of the immunoglobulin variable region of tumor-infiltrating B cells was used to characterize their antigen experience. Flow cytometry of fresh tissue homogenate and paired peripheral blood lymphocytes was used to identify T cell phenotypes and characterize the T cell repertoire.
Results: A conspicuous B and T cell infiltrate, primarily clustered in perivascular spaces, was present in the microenvironment of most tumors examined. Characterization of 294 tumor-infiltrating B cells revealed clear evidence of antigen experience, in that the cardinal features of an antigen-driven B cell response were present. Meningiomas harbored populations of antigen-experienced CD4+ and CD8+ memory/effector T cells, regulatory T cells, and T cells expressing the immune checkpoint molecules PD-1 and Tim-3, indicative of exhaustion. All of these phenotypes were considerably enriched relative to their frequency in the circulation. The T cell repertoire in the tumor microenvironment included populations that were not reflected in paired peripheral blood.
Conclusion: The tumor microenvironment of meningiomas often includes postgerminal center B cell populations. These tumors invariably include a selected, antigen-experienced, effector T cell population enriched by those that express markers of an exhausted phenotype.
Keywords: B cell; T cell; meningioma; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.