An immunosuppressive macrophage profile attenuates the prognostic impact of CD20-positive B cells in human soft tissue sarcoma.


Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Immune cells can regulate disease progression and response to treatment in multiple tumor types, but their activities in human soft tissue sarcoma are poorly characterized.
METHODS : Marker-defined immune cell subsets were characterized from a tumor microenvironmental perspective in two independent cohorts of human soft tissue sarcoma by multiplex IHC, quantitative PCR and/or bioinformatics.
RESULTS : B cell profiling revealed a prognostic role for CD20 protein (cohort 1, 33 patients) and MS4A1 gene expression (cohort 2, 265 patients). Multiplex IHC and gene correlation analysis supported a role in antigen presentation, immune cell differentiation and T cell activation. The prognostic role of MS4A1 expressing B cells was only observed in an IL10low, PTGS2low or CD163low tumor microenvironment according to the transcriptomic data. IL10 levels consistently correlated with the M2-like macrophage marker CD163, which also defined the majority of macrophages. A polarization of these cells toward a pro-tumoral phenotype was further supported by lack of correlation between CD163 and M1 markers like NOS2, as well as by low abundance of CD80 positive cells in tissue.
CONCLUSIONS : Analysis of CD20/MS4A1 expression in soft tissue sarcoma merits further attention as a promising candidate prognostic tool for survival, but not in patients with a pronounced immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Macrophages are ubiquitous and polarized toward a protumoral phenotype. This provides a rationale for further studies on B cell function and immunotherapy targeting M2-polarized macrophages.


CD20,IL10,M2 macrophages,MS4A1,Prognostic marker,Sarcoma,

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