Modified immunoscore improves the prediction of progression-free survival in patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer: A digital pathology study.

Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), known to be of prognostic value in various solid tumours, have been in the focus of research in the last years. TIL are often quantified via IMMUNOSCORE ® (IS), a scoring system based on TIL cell densities. Recent studies were able to replicate these findings for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), however data regarding non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) are scarce. This study aimed to evaluate the value of a modified Immunoscore (mIS) as a predictive marker for NMIBC prognosis using tissue-micro-arrays (TMAs). We analysed two TMAs containing 316 samples from 158 patients with NMIBC, stained for CD3, CD8, CD45RO and FOXP3. Stained TIL were captured by digital pathology, cumulated, averaged, and reported as density (stained cells per mm²). The mIS was then constructed based on density of all four immune-cell types. Clinical, pathological and follow-up data were collected retrospectively. Univariable and multivariable cox regression analysis was performed to assess the potential value of mIS as a predictor for progression free survival (PFS) and recurrence-free-survival (RFS). Patients within "European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer" (EORTC) risk groups were further substratified in high mIS and low mIS subgroups. Finally log-rank test was used to compare the different survival curves. The median age in our cohort was 68 years (Interquartile Range (IQR): 60 - 76), and 117 (74%) patients were male. A total of 26 patients (16.5%) were classified as EORTC low risk, 45 (28.5%) as intermediate risk and 87 (55.1%) as high risk. Patients in the EORTC high risk group with low mIS showed a shorter PFS in comparison to high mIS (HR 2.9, CI 0.79 - 11.0, p=0.082). In contrast, no predictive potential regarding PFS was observed in intermediate or low risk groups. Furthermore, mIS was not able to predict RFS in any EORTC risk group. mIS could be utilized to predict prognosis more accurately in high-risk patients with NMIBC by identifying those with higher or lower risk of progression. Therefore, mIS could be used to allocate these highrisk patients to more streamlined follow-up or more aggressive treatment strategies.

Frontiers in oncology. 2022 Sep 23*** epublish ***

Uwe Bieri, Dominik Enderlin, Lorenz Buser, Marian S Wettstein, Daniel Eberli, Holger Moch, Thomas Hermanns, C├ędric Poyet

Department of Urology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland., Department of Pathology and Molecular Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

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