The prognostic value of immune cell infiltration within the tumor microenvironment (TME) has been extensively investigated via histological and genomic approaches. Based on the positive prognostic value of T cell infiltration, Immunoscore has been developed and validated for predicting risk of recurrence for colorectal cancer (CRC). Also, association between a consensus T helper 1 (Th-1) immune response and favorable clinical outcomes has been observed across multiple cancer types. Here, we reanalyzed public genomic data sets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (NCBI-GEO) and performed multispectral immunohistochemistry (IHC) on a cohort of colorectal tumors. We identified and characterized a risk group, representing approximately 10% of CRC patients, with high intratumoral CD8+ T cell infiltration, but poor prognosis. These tumors included both microsatellite instable (MSI) and stable (MSS) phenotypes and had a high density of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) that expressed CD274 (programmed death-ligand 1 [PD-L1]), TGF-β activation, and an immune overdrive signature characterized by the overexpression of immune response and checkpoint genes. Our findings illustrate that CRC patients may have poor prognosis despite high CD8+ T cell infiltration and provide CD274 as a simple biomarker for identifying these patients.


Marwan Fakih, Ching Ouyang, Chongkai Wang, Travis Yiwey Tu, Maricel C. Gozo, May Cho, Marvin Sy, Jeffrey A. Longmate, Peter P. Lee


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