American Association for Cancer Research
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Figure 2 from Spatial Positioning of Immune Hotspots Reflects the Interplay between B and T Cells in Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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posted on 2023-05-02, 08:20 authored by Hanyun Zhang, Khalid AbdulJabbar, David A. Moore, Ayse Akarca, Katey S.S. Enfield, Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, Shan E. Ahmed Raza, Selvaraju Veeriah, Roberto Salgado, Nicholas McGranahan, John Le Quesne, Charles Swanton, Teresa Marafioti, Yinyin Yuan

B-cell dominance of high-Sintra/immune group in LUSC. A, Gene Ontology (GO) biological processes found to be enriched in the DEGs according to patient groups stratified by Sintra/immune. The red line denotes the ratio of the number of DEGs in a pathway to the total number of genes in that pathway. FDR, false discovery rate. B, Volcano plot showing DEGs in the high-Sintra/immune group compared with the low group. Genes with log-fold change (logFC) smaller than 1 were excluded. Genes involved in immune responses are highlighted in yellow. C, Consistently upregulated B-cell signatures in high-Sintra/immune group across seven bioinformatics methods using the TCGA LUSC cohort, n = 459. Statistical significance was evaluated by the Wilcoxon rank sum test and adjusted by the Benjamini–Hochberg method.


Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Breast Cancer Now (BCN)

Rosetrees Trust (Rosetrees)

Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)

European Commission (EC)

NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust/Institute of Cancer Research (BRC)

Wellcome Trust (WT)

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (NovoNordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research)

Royal Society (The Royal Society)

University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre (UCLH BRC)

Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)

European Research Council (ERC)

Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (H2020)

HORIZON EUROPE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)



Beyond tertiary lymphoid structures, a significant number of immune-rich areas without germinal center-like structures are observed in non–small cell lung cancer. Here, we integrated transcriptomic data and digital pathology images to study the prognostic implications, spatial locations, and constitution of immune rich areas (immune hotspots) in a cohort of 935 patients with lung cancer from The Cancer Genome Atlas. A high intratumoral immune hotspot score, which measures the proportion of immune hotspots interfacing with tumor islands, was correlated with poor overall survival in lung squamous cell carcinoma but not in lung adenocarcinoma. Lung squamous cell carcinomas with high intratumoral immune hotspot scores were characterized by consistent upregulation of B-cell signatures. Spatial statistical analyses conducted on serial multiplex IHC slides further revealed that only 4.87% of peritumoral immune hotspots and 0.26% of intratumoral immune hotspots were tertiary lymphoid structures. Significantly lower densities of CD20+CXCR5+ and CD79b+ B cells and less diverse immune cell interactions were found in intratumoral immune hotspots compared with peritumoral immune hotspots. Furthermore, there was a negative correlation between the percentages of CD8+ T cells and T regulatory cells in intratumoral but not in peritumoral immune hotspots, with tertiary lymphoid structures excluded. These findings suggest that the intratumoral immune hotspots reflect an immunosuppressive niche compared with peritumoral immune hotspots, independent of the distribution of tertiary lymphoid structures. A balance toward increased intratumoral immune hotspots is indicative of a compromised antitumor immune response and poor outcome in lung squamous cell carcinoma. Intratumoral immune hotspots beyond tertiary lymphoid structures reflect an immunosuppressive microenvironment, different from peritumoral immune hotspots, warranting further study in the context of immunotherapies.

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