Prognostic significance of tumor-infiltrating T-lymphocytes in primary and metastatic lesions of advanced stage ovarian cancer

Ninke Leffers, Marloes J M Gooden, Renske A de Jong, Baukje-Nynke Hoogeboom, Klaske A ten Hoor, Harry Hollema, H Marieke Boezen, Ate G J van der Zee, Toos Daemen, Hans W Nijman
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy: CII 2009, 58 (3): 449-59

PURPOSE: Ovarian cancer patients with intra-tumoral CD3(+) T-lymphocytes in primary tumor tissue have a better prognosis. This study aims to analyze the presence and relative influence of three important T-lymphocyte subsets, tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL), CD45R0(+) memory T-lymphocytes, and FoxP3(+) regulatory T-lymphocytes (Treg), in primary tumor tissue and omental metastases of patients with ovarian cancer.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The number of CD8(+), CD45R0(+), and FoxP3(+) T-lymphocytes was determined by immunohistochemistry on a tissue micro array containing ovarian tumor tissue and/or omental metastases obtained at primary debulking surgery from 306 FIGO stage I-IV ovarian cancer patients. Immunohistochemistry data were correlated to clinicopathological parameters and survival data.

RESULTS: High number of CD8(+) CTL and a high CD8(+)/FoxP3(+) ratio in ovarian-derived tumor tissue were associated with increased disease-specific survival and proved to be independent prognostic factors in multivariate analyses. In advanced stage patients, the presence of CD8(+) CTL, CD45R0(+) memory T-lymphocytes, FoxP3(+) Treg or a high CD8(+)/FoxP3(+) ratio in ovarian-derived tumor tissue was associated with an increased disease specific survival in univariate analysis, as was the presence of CD45R0(+) memory T-lymphocytes and FoxP3(+) Treg in omental metastases. Furthermore, in advanced stage patients CD8(+) cytotoxic and FoxP3(+) regulatory T-lymphocytes infiltrating ovarian-derived tumor tissue were independent predictors of increased prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS: T-lymphocytes infiltrating primary and metastatic ovarian cancer sites are associated with improved prognosis. These associations are especially distinct in advanced stage patients, underlining the potential for immunotherapy as a broadly applicable therapeutic strategy.

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