Automated Multiplex Immunofluorescence Panel for Immuno-oncology Studies on Formalin-fixed Carcinoma Tissue Specimens.

Affiliation

Laboratory of Pathology, MedImmune; [Email]

Abstract

Continued developments in immuno-oncology require an increased understanding of the mechanisms of cancer immunology. The immunoprofiling analysis of tissue samples from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) biopsies has become a key tool for understanding the complexity of tumor immunology and discovering novel predictive biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy. Immunoprofiling analysis of tissues requires the evaluation of combined markers, including inflammatory cell subpopulations and immune checkpoints, in the tumor microenvironment. The advent of novel multiplex immunohistochemical methods allows for a more efficient multiparametric analysis of single tissue sections than does standard monoplex immunohistochemistry (IHC). One commercially available multiplex immunofluorescence (IF) method is based on tyramide-signal amplification and, combined with multispectral microscopic analysis, allows for a better signal separation of diverse markers in tissue. This methodology is compatible with the use of unconjugated primary antibodies that have been optimized for standard IHC on FFPE tissue samples. Herein we describe in detail an automated protocol that allows multiplex IF labeling of carcinoma tissue samples with a six-marker multiplex antibody panel comprising PD-L1, PD-1, CD68, CD8, Ki-67, and AE1/AE3 cytokeratins with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole as a nuclear cell counterstain. The multiplex panel protocol is optimized in an automated IHC stainer for a staining time that is shorter than that of the manual protocol and can be directly applied and adapted by any laboratory investigator for immuno-oncology studies on human FFPE tissue samples. Also described are several controls and tools, including a drop-control method for fine quality control of a new multiplex IF panel, that are useful for the optimization and validation of the technique.