Tumor Escape Phenotype in Bladder Cancer Is Associated with Loss of HLA Class I Expression, T-Cell Exclusion and Stromal Changes
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AuthorGil Julio, Hernani; Ramírez González, Amanda Rocío; Aptsiauri, Natalia; Ruiz-Cabello Osuna, Francisco
Bladder cancerHLA class ICancer immune escapeTumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs)T-cell exclusionPD-L1Cancer associated fibroblasts
Gil-Julio, H.; Perea, F.; Rodriguez-Nicolas, A.; Cozar, J.M.; González-Ramirez, A.R.; Concha, A.; Garrido, F.; Aptsiauri, N.; Ruiz-Cabello, F. Tumor Escape Phenotype in Bladder Cancer Is Associated with Loss of HLA Class I Expression, T-Cell Exclusion and Stromal Changes. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 7248. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/ijms22147248
SponsorshipISCIII Research Institute co-financed by the European Union (FED-ER-Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional) (RETIC RD 06/020, RD09/0076/00165; PI14/01978, PI16/00752, Q2827015E, PI17/00197, PT17/0015/0041) and by the Junta de Andalucía in Spain (Groups CTS-143, CTS-695, CTS3952, CVI-4740).; Abbott; Spanish Research Institute IDI-URO, Madrid
Cancer eradication and clinical outcome of immunotherapy depend on tumor cell immunogenicity, including HLA class I (HLA-I) and PD-L1 expression on malignant cells, and on the characteristics of the tumor microenvironment, such as tumor immune infiltration and stromal reaction. Loss of tumor HLA-I is a common mechanism of immune escape from cytotoxic T lymphocytes and is linked to cancer progression and resistance to immunotherapy with the inhibitors of PD-L1/PD-1 signaling. Here we observed that HLA-I loss in bladder tumors is associated with T cell exclusion and tumor encapsulation with stromal elements rich in FAP-positive cells. In addition, PD-L1 upregulation in HLA-I negative tumors demonstrated a correlation with high tumor grade and worse overall- and cancer-specific survival of the patients. These changes define common immuno-morphological signatures compatible with cancer immune escape and acquired resistance to therapeutic interventions across different types of malignancy. They also may contribute to the search of new targets for cancer treatment, such as FAP-expressing cancer-associated fibroblasts, in refractory bladder tumors.