Prognostic Significance of Pretreatment Immune Cell Infiltration in Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer Treated with Definitive Chemoradiation: Analysis of NRG RTOG 0524 and 0712.
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE(S): Chemoradiation therapy (CRT) is an organ conserving approach in the treatment of locally advanced bladder cancer. Chemoradiation is thought to potentially result in immunogenic stimulation, and bladder cancer is often a tumor with high immune cell infiltration. Thus, we aimed to profile the tumor immune microenvironment of bladder cancer and identify prognostic immune biomarkers for CRT response by profiling tumor samples from NRG/RTOG 0524 and 0712, two prospective trials of CRT in muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC).MATERIALS/METHODS: Pretreatment tissue samples from both trials were profiled using Cofactor Genomics ImmunoPrism, an RNA sequencing assay that uses gene expression profiles to quantify immune cell populations in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Differential gene expression was estimated for different immune cell type proportions across samples. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and log rank tests were performed to evaluate differences in overall survival (OS) stratified by genes influenced by immune cell proportions or genes associated with immune response signatures.RESULTS: A total of 70 samples (43 from RTOG 0524 and 27 from RTOG 0712) underwent analysis using the ImmunoPrism assay. Immune cell proportions were as follows: CD8 T cells: median 1.2%, CD4 T cells: median 0.8%, Treg cells: median 9.2%, CD19 B cells: median 5.1%, M2 macrophages: median 0.8%, M1 macrophages: median 0%. Unbiased clustering based on gene expression profiles driven by immune cell proportions demonstrated two groups: cluster 1 with a low percentage of immune cells and shorter OS (median 31 months) and cluster 2 with a high percentage of immune cells and longer OS (median 101 months, p = 0.036). Higher expression of genes associated with T cell infiltration (CD8A and ICOS) was associated with improved OS (104 vs 35 months, p = 0.028, HR = 0.48 (0.25 - 0.94), p = 0.031) as was higher expression of IDO1, which is associated with the interferon gamma pathway (104 vs 35 months, p = 0.042, HR = 0.49 (0.24 - 0.99), p = 0.046).CONCLUSION: Bladder tumors have a wide range of immune cell infiltration in the TME. Increased immune cell proportions are prognostic for OS following CRT, as well as a higher expression of genes associated with T cell infiltration interferon gamma signaling. These findings have implications for the integration of immunotherapy in the definitive management of MIBC; and can be explored further in the ongoing NRG/SWOG 1806 trial.
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International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics