Purpose: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most lethal primary brain tumor in adult patients. The disease progression, response to chemotherapy and radiotherapy at initial diagnosis, and prognosis are profoundly associated with the tumor microenvironment, especially the features of tumor-infiltrating immune cells (TII). Recurrent GBM is even more challenging to manage. Differences in the immune environment between newly diagnosed and recurrent GBM and an association with tumor prognosis are not well defined. Methods: To address this knowledge gap, we analyzed the clinical data and tissue specimens from 24 GBM patients (13 at initial diagnosis and 11 at recurrence). The expression levels of multiple immunobiological markers in patients’ GBM at initial diagnosis versus at recurrence were compared, including five patients with both specimens available (paired). The distribution patterns of TII were evaluated in both the intratumoral and perivascular regions. Results: We found that tumors from recurrent GBM have significantly more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and macrophages and higher PD-L1 and PD-1 expression than tumors at primary diagnosis and benign brain specimens from epilepsy surgery. The pattern changes of the TILs and macrophages of the five paired specimens were consistent with the unpaired patients, while the CD8 to CD4 ratio remained constant from diagnosis to recurrence in the paired tissues. The levels of TILs, macrophages, PD-1 or PD-L1+ cells at initial diagnosis did not correlate with OS. TILs, macrophages, and PD-1+ cells were increased in recurrent tumors both in intratumoral and perivascular areas, with higher distribution levels in intratumoral than perivascular regions. Higher CD4 or CD8 infiltration at recurrence was associated with a worse prognosis, respectively. Conclusions: Our study elucidated that TIL and TAM tend to accumulate in perivascular region and are more abundant in recurrent GBM than newly diagnosed GBM.
- Recurrent glioblastoma
- Tumor microenvironment
- Tumor-infiltrating immune cells
- Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cancer Research