Background: Besides the interest of an early detection of ovarian cancer, there is an urgent need for new predictive and prognostic biomarkers of tumor development and cancer treatment. In healthy patients, circulating blood monocytes are typically subdivided into classical (85%), intermediate (5%) and non-classical (10%) populations. Although these circulating monocyte subsets have been suggested as biomarkers in several diseases, few studies have investigate their potential as a predictive signature for tumor immune status,tumor growth and treatment adaptation.
Methods: In this study, we used a homogeneous cohort of 28 chemotherapy-naïve patients with ovarian cancer to evaluate monocyte subsets as biomarkers of the ascites immunological status. We evaluated the correlations between circulating monocyte subsets and immune cells and tumor burden in peritoneal ascites. Moreover, to validate the use of circulating monocyte subsets tofollow tumor progression and treatment response, we characterized blood monocytes from ovarian cancer patients included in a phase 1 clinical trial at baseline and following murlentamab treatment.
Results: We demonstrate here a robust expansion of the intermediate blood monocytes (IBMs) in ovarian cancer patients. We establish a significant positive correlation between IBM percentage and tumor-associate macrophages with a CCR2high/CD163high/CD206high/CD86lowprofile. Moreover, IBM expansion is associated with a decreased effector/regulatory T-cell ratio in ascites and with the presence of soluble immunosuppressive mediators. We also establish that IBM proportion positively correlates with the peritoneum tumor burden. Finally, the study of IBMs in patients with ovarian cancer under immunotherapy during the phase clinical trial supports IBMs to follow the evolution of tumor development and the treatment adaptation.
Conclusions: This study, which links IBM level with immunosuppression and tumor burden in peritoneum, identifies IBMs as apotential predictive signature of ascites immune status and as a biomarker ofovarian cancer development and treatment response.
Trial registration number: EudraCT: 2015-004252-22 NCT02978755.
Keywords: biomarkers, tumor; immunity; immunotherapy; macrophages; tumor microenvironment.
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