Treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer is based upon the assumption that metastases are homogeneous within a patient. We quantified immune cell types of 603 whole-slide metastases and primary colorectal tumors from 222 patients. Primary lesions, and synchronous and metachronous metastases, had a heterogeneous immune infiltrate and mutational diversity. Small metastases had frequently a low Immunoscore and T and B cell score, while a high Immunoscore was associated with a lower number of metastases. Anti-epidermal growth factor receptor treatment modified immune gene expression and significantly increased T cell densities in the metastasis core. The predictive accuracy of the Immunoscore from a single biopsy was superior to the one of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). The immune phenotype of the least-infiltrated metastasis had a stronger association with patient outcome than other metastases.
Keywords: Immunoscore; PDL1; T cells; biopsy; cancer; colorectal cancer; metastasis; prediction; tumor microenvironment; tumor-immunology.
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