High TIL, HLA, and Immune Checkpoint Expression in Conventional High-Grade and Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma and Poor Clinical Course of the Disease

Front Oncol. 2021 Apr 12;11:598001. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.598001. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to characterize chondrosarcoma tumor infiltration by immune cells and the expression of immunologically relevant molecules. This information may contribute to our understanding of the role of immunological events in the pathogenesis of chondrosarcoma and to the rational design of immunotherapeutic strategies.

Patients and methods: A tissue microarray (TMA) containing 52 conventional and 24 dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma specimens was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining for the expression of parameters associated with tumor antigen-specific immune responses, namely, CD4+ and CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the expression of HLA class I heavy chain, beta-2 microglobulin (β2m), HLA class II and immune checkpoint molecules, B7-H3 and PD-1/PD-L1. The results were correlated with histopathological characteristics and the clinical course of the disease.

Results: CD8+ TILs were present in 21% of the conventional and 90% of the dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma tumors tested. B7-H3 was expressed in 69% of the conventional and 96% of the dedifferentiated chondrosarcoma tumors tested. PD-1 and PD-L1 were expressed 53% and 33% respectively of the dedifferentiated tumors tested. PD-L1 expression was associated with shorter time to metastasis.

Conclusion: The tumor infiltration by lymphocytes suggests that chondrosarcoma is immunogenic. Defects in HLA class I antigen and expression of the checkpoint molecules B7-H3 and PD-1/PD-L1 suggest that tumor cells utilize escape mechanisms to avoid immune recognition and destruction. This data implies that chondrosarcoma will benefit from strategies that enhance the immunogenicity of tumor antigens and/or counteract the escape mechanisms.

Keywords: B7-H3; HLA class I; PD-L1; T cell infiltration; chondrosarcoma.