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Tumor Microenvironment Immune Score Provides Immunotherapy Response, Prognostic Insights

A Swedish, Belarusian, and Finnish team reporting in eBioMedicine describes an immunotherapy response-related tumor microenvironment score that takes tumor-boosting or -banishing immune features into account. Starting with colorectal cancer, the researchers relied on multiplex immunohistochemistry to profile immune cells spanning 15 classes, coming up with a tumor microenvironment "signature of immune activation" (SIA) that took anti-tumor CD8-positive lymphocyte and tumor-associated macrophages into account. After assessing the signature in more detail with available single-cell and bulk RNA sequences from colorectal cancer, lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, immune checkpoint-treated melanoma, uveal melanoma, or cancer-free tissues, they considered ties to survival across several cancer types, both for SIA and an RNA-based version of the score. "[W]e have identified an immune cell signature combining CD8 cytotoxic T-cells and a distinct TAM subset reflecting anti- and pro-tumorigenic immune reactions," they report. "This marker-defined signature had a strong prognostic impact in at least five main solid tumor types and a response predictive relevance in three tested tumor types."