Immune contexture of MMR-proficient primary colorectal cancer and matched liver and lung metastases

Maarit Ahtiainen, Hanna Elomaa, Juha P. Väyrynen, Erkki Ville Wirta, Teijo Kuopio, Olli Helminen, Toni T. Seppälä, Ilmo Kellokumpu, Jukka Pekka Mecklin

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    Purpose: To evaluate immune cell infiltration, the programmed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) expression and their prognostic value in a series of mismatch proficient (pMMR) CRC with matched liver and lung metastases. Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-em-bedded tissue sections stained for CD3, CD8, PD-L1 and PD-1 from 113 primary CRC tumours with 105 liver and 59 lung metastases were analyzed. The amount of CD3 and CD8 positive lymphocytes were combined as immune cell score (ICS). Comparative analyses on immune contexture were performed both between the primary tumour and matched metastases and between the meta-static sites. Results: In liver metastases, immune cell infiltration was increased in general compared to primary tumours but did not correlate case by case. On the contrary, ICS between lung metastases and primary tumours correlated well, but the expression of PD-1/PD-L1 was increased in lung metastases. The proportion of tumours with high ICS together with PD-L1-pos-itivity almost doubled in metastases (39%) compared to primary tumours (20%). High ICS (com-pared to lowest) in patient’s least immune-infiltrated metastasis was an independent prognostic marker for disease-specific (HR 9.14, 95%CI 2.81–29.68) and overall survival (HR 6.95, 95%CI 2.30– 21.00). Conclusions: Our study confirms the prognostic value of high ICS in least immune-infil-trated metastases in pMMR CRC patients. Major differences observed in immune contexture between primary tumours and metastases may have significance for treatment strategies for patients with advanced CRC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1530
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Colorectal cancer
    • Metastases
    • PD-1
    • PD-L1
    • Tumour infiltrating lymphocytes

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology
    • Cancer Research


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