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Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are characterized by a stable immune signature within the primary tumor over time

Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are characterized by a stable immune signature within the primary tumor over time
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are characterized by a stable immune signature within the primary tumor over time
Purpose: Genetic and morphological heterogeneity is well-documented in solid cancers. Immune cells are also variably distributed within the tumor; this heterogeneity is difficult to assess in small biopsies, and may confound our understanding of the determinants of successful immunotherapy. We examined the transcriptomic variability of the immunological signature in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) within individual tumors using transcriptomic and immunohistochemical assessments.Experimental design: Forty-four tumor biopsies from 16 HNSCC patients, taken at diagnosis and later at resection, were analyzed using RNA-sequencing. Variance filtering was used to identify the top 4000 most variable genes. Principal component analysis, hierarchical clustering and correlation analysis were performed. Gene expression of CD8A was correlated to immunohistochemical analysis.Results: Analysis of immunological gene expression was highly consistent in replicates from the same cancer. Across the cohort, samples from the same patient were most similar to each other, both spatially (at diagnosis) and notably, over time (diagnostic biopsy compared to resection); comparison of global gene expression by hierarchical clustering [p=<0.0001] and correlation analysis [median intrapatient r=0.82; median interpatient r=0.63]. CD8A gene transcript counts were highly correlated with CD8 T-cell counts by immunohistochemistry (r=0.82).Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that in HNSCC the global tumor and adaptive immune signatures are stable between discrete parts of the same tumor and also at different timepoints. This suggests that immunological heterogeneity may not be a key reason for failure of immunotherapy and underpins the use of transcriptomics for immunological evaluation of novel agents in HNSCC patients.
1078-0432
Wood, Oliver
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Clarke, James
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Woo, Jeogmin
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Mirza, Adal H.
a5f2df68-3d2f-4fbb-8a08-15c717e01e48
Woelk, Christopher H.
4d3af0fd-658f-4626-b3b5-49a6192bcf7d
Thomas, Gareth J.
2ff54aa9-a766-416b-91ee-cf1c5be74106
Vijayanand, Pandurangan
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King, Emma V.
d85e0e8f-7295-4912-9052-646a790d99db
Ottensmeier, Christian H.
42b8a398-baac-4843-a3d6-056225675797
Wood, Oliver
dad2f90c-70a5-44a0-914a-52809b75d1c6
Clarke, James
867dce7c-1a12-42f2-acc3-63c440ff0024
Woo, Jeogmin
f31ed6e0-741c-4ccf-8e14-3b4f92bac2b7
Mirza, Adal H.
a5f2df68-3d2f-4fbb-8a08-15c717e01e48
Woelk, Christopher H.
4d3af0fd-658f-4626-b3b5-49a6192bcf7d
Thomas, Gareth J.
2ff54aa9-a766-416b-91ee-cf1c5be74106
Vijayanand, Pandurangan
79514f33-66cf-47cc-a8fa-46bbfc21b7d1
King, Emma V.
d85e0e8f-7295-4912-9052-646a790d99db
Ottensmeier, Christian H.
42b8a398-baac-4843-a3d6-056225675797

Wood, Oliver, Clarke, James, Woo, Jeogmin, Mirza, Adal H., Woelk, Christopher H., Thomas, Gareth J., Vijayanand, Pandurangan, King, Emma V. and Ottensmeier, Christian H. (2017) Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas are characterized by a stable immune signature within the primary tumor over time. Clinical Cancer Research. (doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-0373).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: Genetic and morphological heterogeneity is well-documented in solid cancers. Immune cells are also variably distributed within the tumor; this heterogeneity is difficult to assess in small biopsies, and may confound our understanding of the determinants of successful immunotherapy. We examined the transcriptomic variability of the immunological signature in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) within individual tumors using transcriptomic and immunohistochemical assessments.Experimental design: Forty-four tumor biopsies from 16 HNSCC patients, taken at diagnosis and later at resection, were analyzed using RNA-sequencing. Variance filtering was used to identify the top 4000 most variable genes. Principal component analysis, hierarchical clustering and correlation analysis were performed. Gene expression of CD8A was correlated to immunohistochemical analysis.Results: Analysis of immunological gene expression was highly consistent in replicates from the same cancer. Across the cohort, samples from the same patient were most similar to each other, both spatially (at diagnosis) and notably, over time (diagnostic biopsy compared to resection); comparison of global gene expression by hierarchical clustering [p=<0.0001] and correlation analysis [median intrapatient r=0.82; median interpatient r=0.63]. CD8A gene transcript counts were highly correlated with CD8 T-cell counts by immunohistochemistry (r=0.82).Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that in HNSCC the global tumor and adaptive immune signatures are stable between discrete parts of the same tumor and also at different timepoints. This suggests that immunological heterogeneity may not be a key reason for failure of immunotherapy and underpins the use of transcriptomics for immunological evaluation of novel agents in HNSCC patients.

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Accepted/In Press date: 22 September 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 September 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 414759
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414759
ISSN: 1078-0432
PURE UUID: a856f81c-f1a8-46a2-af89-e337518afd1a

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Date deposited: 10 Oct 2017 16:31
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 05:45

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Contributors

Author: Oliver Wood
Author: James Clarke
Author: Jeogmin Woo
Author: Adal H. Mirza
Author: Pandurangan Vijayanand
Author: Emma V. King

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