J Neurooncol. 2022 Jun 18. doi: 10.1007/s11060-022-04047-y. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Although immunosuppression is a known characteristic of glioma, no previous large studies have reported peripheral blood immune cell profiles prior to patient surgery and chemoradiation. This report describes blood immune cell characteristics and associated variables prior to surgery among typical glioma patients seen at a large University practice.
METHODS: We analyzed pre-surgery blood samples from 139 glioma patients diagnosed with a new or recurrent grade II/III glioma (LrGG, n = 64) or new glioblastoma (GBM, n = 75) and 454 control participants without glioma. Relative cell fractions of CD4, CD8, B-cells, Natural Killer cells, monocytes, and neutrophils, were estimated via a validated deconvolution algorithm from blood DNA methylation measures from Illumina EPIC arrays.
RESULTS: Dexamethasone use at time of blood draw varied by glioma type being highest among patients with IDH wild-type (wt) GBM (75%) and lowest for those with oligodendroglioma (14%). Compared to controls, glioma patients showed statistically significant lower cell fractions for all immune cell subsets except for neutrophils which were higher (all p-values < 0.001), in part because of the higher prevalence of dexamethasone use at time of blood draw for IDHwt GBM. Patients who were taking dexamethasone were more likely to have a low CD4 count (< 200, < 500), increased neutrophils, low absolute lymphocyte counts, higher total cell count and higher NLR.
CONCLUSION: We show that pre-surgery blood immune profiles vary by glioma subtype, age, and more critically, by use of dexamethasone. Our results highlight the importance of considering dexamethasone exposures in all studies of immune profiles and of obtaining immune measures prior to use of dexamethasone, if possible.