Background: Immune-contexture of tumour microenvironment (TME) influences prognosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and can be altered by cytotoxic and targeted agents. Limited data are available regarding the immune-TME of CRC after treatment.
Methods: An extensive immunohistochemistry evaluation of immunological parameters on tumour cells and TME of colorectal liver metastases from 106 patients who underwent secondary resection, after receiving triplets FOLFOXIRI (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and irinotecan) or COI (capecitabine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan) plus bevacizumab (N = 59) or cetuximab (N = 47) in five first-line no-profit clinical trials was performed.
Results: No substantial differences were reported in immunological parameters according to administered targeted agent, RAS/BRAF mutational status and histopathological or Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours response. Stromal expression of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) (p = 0.002), Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) (p = 0.003) and Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) (p = 0.002) were independent prognostic factors for longer relapse-free survival (RFS) at multivariate analysis with a positive trend for post-resection overall survival (OS). Patients whose metastases expressed stromal COX-2, HLA and PD1 (inflamed-score positive) reported longer RFS (25.5 versus 9.8 months; p < 0.001) and post-resection OS (64.3 versus 37.7 months; p = 0.003) as compared with others. In addition, patients with higher expression of CD4 and CD8 T-cells in tumour core and invasive margin (CD4/CD8-score) showed a better post-resection OS (not-reached versus 41.6 months; p = 0.032). A combined score of inflamed-score and CD4/CD8-score (combo-score) showed a clear prognostic role.
Conclusions: The present study emphasises the role of immune-TME as independent predictor of survival in patients resected after triplets plus biologic. Inflamed-, CD4/C8- and combo-scores should be confirmed as prognostic factors in further studies.
Keywords: Colorectal liver metastasis; Immunological parameters; Triplet plus targeted agent; Tumour microenvironment.
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