Biomark Res. 2023 Mar 7;11(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40364-023-00465-w.
BACKGROUND: Activated immune cells (IC) in the tumor microenvironment (TME) are critical for anti-tumor efficacy. Greater understanding of the dynamic diversity and crosstalk between IC is needed to clarify their association with immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy.
METHODS: Patients from three tislelizumab monotherapy trials in solid tumors (NCT02407990, NCT04068519, NCT04004221) were retrospectively divided into subgroups by CD8+ T-cell and macrophage (Mφ) levels, assessed via multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC; n = 67) or gene expression profiling (GEP; n = 629).
RESULTS: A trend of longer survival was observed in patients with both high CD8+ T-cell and Mφ levels versus other subgroups in the mIHC analysis (P = 0.11), which was confirmed with greater statistical significance in the GEP analysis (P = 0.0001). Co-existence of CD8+ T cells and Mφ was coupled with elevated CD8+ T-cell cytotoxicity, T-cell trafficking, MHC class I antigen presentation signatures/genes, and enrichment of the pro-inflammatory Mφ polarization pathway. Additionally, a high level of pro-inflammatory CD64+ Mφ density was associated with an immune-activated TME and survival benefit with tislelizumab (15.2 vs. 5.9 months for low density; P = 0.042). Spatial proximity analysis revealed that closer proximity between CD8+ T cells and CD64+ Mφ was associated with a survival benefit with tislelizumab (15.2 vs. 5.3 months for low proximity; P = 0.024).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the potential role of crosstalk between pro-inflammatory Mφ and cytotoxic T cells in the clinical benefit of tislelizumab.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02407990, NCT04068519, NCT04004221.
PMID:36879284 | DOI:10.1186/s40364-023-00465-w