Tumor-Infiltrating Normal B Cells Revealed by Immunoglobulin Repertoire Clonotype Analysis Are Highly Prognostic and Crucial for Antitumor Immune Responses in DLBCL

Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Dec 1;29(23):4808-4821. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-23-1554.


Purpose: Tumor-infiltrating B lymphocytes (TIL-B) have demonstrated prognostic and predictive significance in solid cancers. In this study, we aimed to distinguish TIL-Bs from malignant B-cells in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and determine the clinical and biological significance.

Experimental design: A total of 269 patients with de novo DLBCL from the International DLBCL R-CHOP Consortium Program were studied. Ultra-deep sequencing of the immunoglobulin genes was performed to determine B-cell clonotypes. The frequencies and numbers of TIL-B clonotypes in individual repertoires were correlated with patient survival, gene expression profiling (GEP) data, and frequencies of DLBCL-infiltrating immune cells quantified by fluorescent multiplex IHC at single-cell resolution.

Results: TIL-B abundance, evaluated by frequencies of normal B-cell clonotypes in the immunoglobulin repertoires, remarkably showed positive associations with significantly better survival of patients in our sequenced cohorts. DLBCLs with high versus low TIL-B abundance displayed distinct GEP signatures, increased pre-memory B-cell state and naïve CD4 T-cell state fractions, and higher CD4+ T-cell infiltration. TIL-B frequency, as a new biomarker in DLBCL, outperformed the germinal center (GC) B-cell-like/activated B-cell-like classification and TIL-T frequency. The identified TIL-B-high GEP signature, including genes upregulated during T-dependent B-cell activation and those highly expressed in normal GC B cells and T cells, showed significant favorable prognostic effects in several external validation cohorts.

Conclusions: TIL-B frequency is a significant prognostic factor in DLBCL and plays a crucial role in antitumor immune responses. This study provides novel insights into the prognostic determinants in DLBCL and TIL-B functions with important therapeutic implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Prognosis


  • Immunoglobulins