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Keywords:

  • cytokines;
  • immune cells;
  • interleukins;
  • lung cancer;
  • survival

da Costa Souza P, Parra E R, Atanazio M J, da Silva O B, Noleto G S, Ab’Saber A M, de Morais Fernezlian S, Takagaki T & Capelozzi V L (2012) Histopathology 61, 587–596

Different morphology, stage and treatment affect immune cell infiltration and long-term outcome in patients with non-small-cell lung carcinoma

Aims:  Development of effective immune-based therapies for patients with non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) depends on an accurate characterization of complex interactions that occur between immune cells and the tumour environment.

Methods and results:  Innate and adaptive immune responses were evaluated in relation to prognosis in 65 patients with surgically excised NSCLC. Immunohistochemistry and morphometry were used to determine the abundance and distribution of immune cells. We found low numbers of immune cells and levels of cytokines in the tumour environment when compared with surrounding parenchyma. Smoking was associated inversely with the adaptive immune response and directly with innate immunity. We observed a prominent adaptive immune response in squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) but greater innate immune responses in adenocarcinomas and large cell carcinomas. Cox model analysis showed a low risk of death for smoking <41 packs/year, N0 tambour stage, squamous carcinoma, CD4+ > 16.81% and macrophages/monocytes >4.5%. Collectively, the data indicate that in NSCLC there is not a substantive local immune cell infiltrate within the tumour.

Conclusion:  Although immune cell infiltration is limited in NSCLC it appears to have an impact on prognosis and this may be of relevance for new immunotherapeutic approaches.