Immune Checkpoint-Associated Locations of Diffuse Gliomas Comparing Pediatric With Adult Patients Based on Voxel-Wise Analysis

Front Immunol. 2021 Mar 17;12:582594. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.582594. eCollection 2021.


Objective: Pediatric diffuse gliomas (pDGs) are relatively rare and molecularly distinct from pediatric pilocytic astrocytoma and adult DGs. Immunotherapy is a promising therapeutic strategy, requiring a deep understanding of tumor immune profiles. The spatial locations of brain tumors might be related to the molecular profiles. We aimed to analyze the relationship between the immune checkpoint molecules with the locations of DGs comparing pediatric with adult patients. Method: We studied 20 pDGs patients (age ≤ 21 years old), and 20 paired adult patients according to gender and histological types selected from 641 adult patients with DGs. Immune checkpoint molecules including B7-H3, CD47, and PD-L1, as well as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), were manifested by immunohistochemical staining. Expression difference analyses and Spearman's correlation were performed. MRI data were voxel-wise normalized, segmented, and analyzed by Fisher's exact test to construct the tumor frequency and p value heatmaps. Survival analyses were conducted by Log-rank tests. Result: The median age of pediatric patients was 16 years. 55% and 30% of patients were WHO II and III grades, respectively. The left frontal lobe and right cerebellum were the statistically significant locations for pDGs, while the anterior horn of ventricles for adult DGs. A potential association between the expression of PD-L1 and TAMs was found in pDGs (p = 0.002, R = 0.670). The right posterior external capsule and the lateral side of the anterior horn of the left ventricle were predominant locations for the adult patients with high expression of B7-H3 and low expression of PD-L1 compared to pediatric ones, respectively. Pediatric patients showed significantly improved overall survival compared with adults. The prognostic roles of immune checkpoint molecules and TILs/TAMs were not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusion: Immune checkpoint-associated locations of diffuse gliomas comparing pediatric with adult patients could be helpful for the immunotherapy decisions and design of clinical trials.

Keywords: B7-H3; CD47; PD-L1; immune checkpoint molecules; immunotherapy; pediatric diffuse gliomas; spatial locations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • B7 Antigens / immunology*
  • B7 Antigens / metabolism
  • B7-H1 Antigen / immunology*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • CD47 Antigen / immunology*
  • CD47 Antigen / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Glioma / immunology*
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Glioma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis
  • Young Adult


  • B7 Antigens
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD274 protein, human
  • CD276 protein, human
  • CD47 Antigen