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The prognostic value of intraepithelial and stromal CD3-, CD117- and CD138-positive cells in non-small cell lung carcinoma

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Al-Shibli K, Al-Saad S, Andersen S, Donnem T, Bremnes RM, Busund L-T. The prognostic value of intraepithelial and stromal CD3-, CD117- and CD138-positive cells in non-small cell lung carcinoma. APMIS 2010; 118: 371–82.

The major value of prognostic markers in potentially curable non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) should be to guide therapy after surgical treatment. Although tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes and plasma cells have been documented in NSCLC, a clear association with clinical outcome, especially for the stromal component, has not been well established. The aim of this study was to elucidate the prognostic significance of these cells/markers in the epithelial and stromal compartments of NSCLC. Tissue microarrays from 335 resected, stage I-IIIA, NSCLC were constructed by duplicate cores from viable neoplastic epithelial and stromal areas. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the infiltration of CD3+, CD117+ as well as CD138+ cells in epithelial and stromal areas. In univariate analyses, increasing numbers of stromal CD3+ (p = 0.001) and epithelial CD3+ cells (p = 0.004) correlated significantly with an improved disease-specific survival. No such relation was noted with CD3+ or CD117+ cells. In the multivariate analysis, stromal CD3+ cells was an independent prognostic factor for disease-specific survival (HR 1.925, CI 1.21–3.04, p = 0.005). Increased presence of the pan T-cell marker, CD3, which is an independent factor, correlates with improved clinical outcome in NSCLC. This prognostic impact of T cells is clearer in the tumor stroma. Neither plasma cells nor mast cells were prognostic indicators in our cohort.

Keywords: CD138; NSCLC; T cells; mast cells; tumor stroma

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2010


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