Automated Quantitation of CD8-positive T Cells Predicts Prognosis in Colonic Adenocarcinoma With Mucinous, Signet Ring Cell, or Medullary Differentiation Independent of Mismatch Repair Protein Status

June 15, 2020 | Histopathology

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Despite their association with DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein deficiency, colonic adenocarcinomas with mucinous, signet ring cell, or medullary differentiation have not been associated with improved survival compared with conventional adenocarcinomas in most studies. Recent studies indicate that increased T-cell infiltration in the tumor microenvironment has a favorable prognostic effect in colonic adenocarcinoma. However, the prognostic effect of tumor-associated T cells has not been evaluated in histologic subtypes of colonic adenocarcinoma. We evaluated CD8-positive T-cell density in 259 patients with colonic adenocarcinoma, including 113 patients with tumors demonstrating mucinous, signet ring cell, or medullary differentiation, using a validated automated quantitative digital image analysis platform and correlated CD8-positive T-cell density with histopathologic variables, MMR status, molecular alterations, and survival. CD8-positive T-cell densities were significantly higher for MMR protein-deficient tumors (P < 0.001), BRAF V600E mutant tumors (P=0.004), and tumors with medullary differentiation (P < 0.001) but did not correlate with mucinous or signet ring cell histology (P>0.05 for both). In the multivariable model of factors predicting disease-free survival, increased CD8-positive T-cell density was associated with improved survival both in the entire cohort (hazard ratio=0.34, 95% confidence interval, 0.15-0.75, P=0.008) and in an analysis of patients with tumors with mucinous, signet ring cell, or med... More of this in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology Blog.

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