Immunological classification of renal cell carcinoma patients based on phenotypic analysis of immune check-point molecules

To clarify comprehensive immunological signature patterns of tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes in patients with renal cell carcinoma and show its clinical significance.

We investigated the surface marker expressions of tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes quantitatively and classified them based on their functional populations. We extracted 109 sets of tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes from 80 patients who underwent surgical resection of renal cell carcinoma, of which 44 tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes were multiply extracted from 15 patients. Each tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocyte was characterised on the basis of functional T-cell populations using ten surface marker expressions measured by flow cytometry.

All sets of the tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes were classified into three groups, which correlated significantly with Fuhrman grade (OR 0.253, 95% CI 0.094-0.678, P = 0.006). Importantly, both overall metastasis-free survival (HR 0.449, 95% CI 0.243-0.832, P = 0.011) and recurrence-free survival (HR 0.475, 95% CI 0.238-0.948, P = 0.035) of the patients with the higher marker expressions were significantly inferior to those of the patients with the lower marker expressions by multivariate analysis. Six specific genes for this classification identified by microarray analysis verified our results using the TCGA KIRC data set. In addition, we discovered the presence of intra-tumoural diversity in the classification of 3 (20%) of the 15 patients.

This study showed that the presence of classable diversity in the immunological signature of tumour tissue-infiltrating lymphocytes correlated with prognosis and tumour aggressiveness that was observed even within individual tumours in some patients with renal cell carcinoma.

Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII. 2017 Oct 03 [Epub ahead of print]

Atsunari Kawashima, Takayuki Kanazawa, Kumiko Goto, Mitsunobu Matsumoto, Akiko Morimoto-Okazawa, Kota Iwahori, Takeshi Ujike, Akira Nagahara, Kazutoshi Fujita, Motohide Uemura, Norio Nonomura, Hisashi Wada

Department of Urology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan. ., Department of Clinical Research in Tumour Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan. ., Department of Clinical Research in Tumour Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan., Department of Urology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, 565-0871, Japan.