Immune Cells in Tumor Predict Colorectal Cancer Outcome

Immune cell profile better than standard pathological staging in predicting clinical outcome

THURSDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have discovered that the characteristics of immune cells infiltrating colorectal tumors, including type, density and location, are better predictors of clinical outcome than standard histopathological staging methods, according to a report in the Sept. 29 issue of Science.

Jerome Galon, Ph.D., of the Universite Paris-Descartes in Paris, France, and colleagues conducted a genomic analysis of colorectal tumors from 75 patients and performed in situ immunostaining of tumors from 415 patients.

The investigators measured the expression level of genes related to inflammation, TH1 adaptive immunity and immune suppression in both the center and margin of the tumor and found that expression of adaptive immunity genes and higher immune cell density predicted lower recurrence. The predictions were validated in two other patient cohorts and were used to refine Kaplan-Meier survival curves.

"This suggests that time to recurrence and overall survival time are governed in large part by the state of the local adaptive immune response," the authors write. "In situ analysis of tumor-infiltrating immune cells may therefore be a valuable prognostic tool in the treatment of colorectal cancer and possibly other malignancies."

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