High-dimensional multiplexed immunohistochemical characterization of immune contexture in human cancers.
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Cited by: 27


Biomarker assessments of tumor specimens is widely used in cancer research to audit tumor cell intrinsic as well as tumor cell extrinsic features including the diversity of immune, stromal, and mesenchymal cells. To comprehensively and quantitatively audit the tumor-immune microenvironment (TiME), we developed a novel multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) platform and computational image processing workflow using a single formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue section. Herein, we validated this platform using nine matched primary newly diagnosed and recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) sections sequentially subjected to immunodetection with a panel of 29 antibodies identifying malignant tumor cells, and 17 distinct leukocyte lineages and their functional states. Image cytometric analysis was applied to interpret chromogenic signals from digitally scanned and coregistered light microscopy-based images enabling identification and quantification of individual tumor cells, structural features, immune cell phenotypes and their functional state. In agreement with our previous study via a 12-plex imaging mIHC platform, myeloid-inflamed status in newly diagnosed primary tumors associated with significantly short progression free survival, independent of lymphoid-inflamed status. Spatial distribution of tumor and immune cell lineages in TiME was also examined and revealed statistically significant CD8+ T cell exclusion from tumor nests, whereas regulatory T cells and myeloid cells, when present in close proximity to tumor cells, highly associated with rapid cancer recurrence. These findings indicate presence of differential immune-spatial profiles in newly diagnosed and recurrent HNSCC, and establish the robustness of the 29-plex mIHC platform and associated analytics for quantitative analysis of single tissue sections revealing longitudinal TiME changes.


Cancer immunology
Multiplex imaging

MeSH terms

Head and Neck Neoplasms
Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
Tumor Microenvironment


Banik, Grace
Betts, Courtney B
Liudahl, Shannon M
Sivagnanam, Shamilene
Kawashima, Rie
Cotechini, Tiziana
Larson, William
Goecks, Jeremy
Pai, Sara I
Clayburgh, Daniel R
Tsujikawa, Takahiro
Coussens, Lisa M

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