Introduction: The androgen receptor (AR) regulates immune-related epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and prostate cancer (PCa) metastasis. Primary tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) [CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ TILs] are potential prognostic indicators in PCa, and variations may contribute to racial disparities in tumor biology and PCa outcomes. Aim: To assess the technical feasibility of tumor microarray (TMA)-based methods to perform multi-marker TIL profiling in primary resected PCa. Methods: Paraffin-embedded tissue cores of histopathologically-confirmed primary PCa (n = 40; 1 TMA tissue specimen loss) were arrayed in triplicate on TMAs. Expression profiles of AR, CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ TILs in normal prostate, and the center and periphery of both the tumor-dominant nodule and highest Gleason grade were detected by IHC and associated with clinical and pathological data using standard statistical methodology. An independent pathologist, blinded to the clinical data, scored all samples (percent and intensity of positive cells). Results: TMAs were constructed from 21 (53.8%) Black and 18 (46.2%) White males with completely-resected, primarily pT2 stage PCa [pT2a (n = 3; 7.7%); pT2b (n = 2; 5.1%); pT2c (n = 27; 69.2%); pT3a (n = 5; 12.8%); mean pre-op PSA = 8.17 ng/ml]. The CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD8/CD3 cellular protein expression differed from normal in the periphery of the dominant nodule, the center of the highest Gleason grade, and the periphery of the highest Gleason grade (P < 0.05). Correlations between TIL expression in the center and periphery of the dominant nodule, with corresponding center and periphery of the highest Gleason grade, respectively, were robust, and the magnitude of these correlations differed markedly by race (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Multi-marker (AR, CD3, CD4, CD8) profiling with IHC analysis of TMAs consisting of primary, non-metastatic resected prostate cancer is technically feasible in this pilot study. Future studies will evaluate primary tumor immunoscore using semi-quantitative, IHC-based methodology to assess differences in the spectrum, quantity, and/or localization of TILs, and to gain insights into racial disparities in PCa tumor biology and clinical outcomes.
Keywords: Androgen receptor; Immunoscore; Prostate cancer; Tissue microarray; Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.