Heterogeneity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes ascribed to local immune status rather than neoantigens by multi-omics analysis of glioblastoma multiforme

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 31;7(1):6968. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05538-z.


Hypothetically, intratumoral genomic heterogeneity has the potential to foster tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) diversity; however, no study has directly tested this hypothesis by simultaneously investigating somatic mutations, TIL diversity, and immune response activity. Thus, we performed whole-exome sequencing, immune repertoire sequencing and gene expression on ten spatially separated tumor samples obtained from two tumor masses excised from a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patient, and we included peripheral blood as control. We found that although the multi-region samples from one tumor shared more common mutations than those from different tumors, the TIL populations did not. TIL repertoire diversity did not significantly correlate with the number of non-synonymous mutations; however, TIL diversity was highly correlated with local immune activity, as the pathways were all immune-related pathways that highly positive correlated with local TIL diversity. Twenty-three genes with expression largely unaffected by the intratumor heterogeneity were extracted from these pathways. Fifty GBM patients were stratified into two clusters by the expression of these genes with significant difference in prognosis. This finding was validated by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) GBM dataset, which indicated that despite the heterogeneity of intra-tumor immune status, the overall level of the immune response in GBM could be connected with prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Glioblastoma / genetics*
  • Glioblastoma / immunology
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Mutation
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell