Tumour-associated B cells in urothelial urinary bladder cancer

Scand J Immunol. 2020 Feb;91(2):e12830. doi: 10.1111/sji.12830. Epub 2019 Dec 10.


Tumour infiltrating B cells and CD38+ plasma cells have been correlated with survival in different malignancies but their role in urinary bladder cancer is unclear. IL-10 is a multifunctional cytokine with both anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory properties, that can be released by regulatory B cells (Bregs). We have stained paraffin-embedded tumour sections from 31 patients with invasive urothelial urinary bladder cancer with respect to CD20+ B cells, CD38+ cells, IL-10-expressing cells, IgG, C1q and C3a and analysed the impact of these markers on survival. Interestingly, we observe tumour-associated CD20+ B cells forming follicle-like structures in tumours of some patients. We demonstrate that follicle-like structures, tumour-associated CD38+ cells, IL-10 produced by non-B cells, tumour infiltrating IgG and activation of the complement system, may associate to longer survival of urinary bladder cancer patients. IL-10 expression by tumour-associated Bregs may instead negatively affect prognosis. More research is needed to fully understand the role of B cells and IL-10 in urinary bladder cancer.

Keywords: follicle-like structures; tumour-associated B cells; urinary bladder cancer.

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / metabolism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality


  • Antigens, CD20
  • Interleukin-10
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1