Frontiers in Immunology (2019-07-01)

Examining Peripheral and Tumor Cellular Immunome in Patients With Cancer

  • Eda K. Holl,
  • Victoria N. Frazier,
  • Karenia Landa,
  • Georgia M. Beasley,
  • E. Shelley Hwang,
  • Smita K. Nair

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10


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Immunotherapies are rapidly being integrated into standard of care (SOC) therapy in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy for many cancers and a large number of clinical studies continue to explore immunotherapy alone and as part of combination therapies in patients with cancer. It is evident that clinical effectiveness of immunotherapy is limited to a subset of patients and improving immunotherapy related outcomes remains a major scientific and clinical effort. Understanding the immune cell subset phenotype and activation/functional status (cellular immunome) prior to and post therapy is therefore critical to develop biomarkers that (1) will predict if a patient will respond to immunotherapy and (2) are a result of immunotherapy. In this study, we investigated local (tumor) and peripheral (blood) cellular immunome of patients with melanoma, breast cancer, and brain cancer using a rapid and reliable standardized, multiparameter flow cytometry assay. We used this approach to monitor changes in the peripheral cellular immunome in women with breast cancer undergoing SOC therapy. Our analysis is unique because it is conducted using matched fresh tumor tissue and blood from patients in real-time, within 2–3 h of sample acquisition, and provides insight into the innate and adaptive immune cell profile in blood and tumor. Specific to blood, this approach involves no manipulation and evaluates all immune subsets such as T cells, B cells, natural killer (NK) cells, monocytes, dendritic cells (DCs), neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils using 0.5 ml of blood. Analysis of the corresponding tumor provides much needed insight into the phenotype and activation status of immune cells, especially T and B cells, in the tumor microenvironment vs. the periphery. This analysis will be used to assess baseline and therapy-mediated changes in local and peripheral cellular immunome in patients with glioblastoma, breast cancer, and melanoma in planned immunotherapy clinical studies.