Prostate 2019 Jun 18;79(9):969-979. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
Cancer Biology and Genetics, Queen's Cancer Research Institute, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.
Background: Accumulating evidence shows that tumor cell-specific genomic changes can influence the cross talk between cancer cells and the surrounding tumor microenvironment (TME). Loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is observed in 20% to 30% of prostate cancers (PCa) when first detected and the rate increases with PCa progression and advanced disease. Recent findings implicate a role for PTEN in cellular type I interferon response and immunosuppression in PCa. However, the way that PTEN inactivation alters antitumor immune response in PCa is poorly understood.
Materials And Methods: To investigate the changes associated with PTEN loss and an immunosuppressive TME in PCa, we used CIBERSORT to estimate the relative abundance of 22 immune-cell types from 741 primary and 96 metastatic tumors. Our in silico findings were then validated by immunohistochemical analysis of immune cells and IDO1 and PDL1 checkpoint proteins in a cohort of 94 radical prostatectomy specimens.
Results: FoxP3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) were significantly increased in PTEN-deficient PCa in all three public domain cohorts. Loss of PTEN in bone metastases was associated with lower CD8+ T-cell abundance, but in liver metastasis, FoxP3+ Tregs were present at higher levels. PTEN-deficient lymph node metastasis had a distinct profile, with high levels of CD8+ T cells. Moreover, we found that metastatic PCa presents higher abundance of FoxP3+ Treg when compared to primary lesions. Since PTEN-deficient tumors are likely to be immunosuppressed as a consequence of increased FoxP3+ Tregs, we then evaluated the localization and expression of IDO1, PDL1 immune checkpoints, and the corresponding density of FoxP3+ Treg and CD8+ T cells using our validation cohort (n = 94). We found that IDO1 protein expression and FoxP3+ Treg density were higher in neoplastic glands compared with benign adjacent tissue. Moreover, higher densities of FoxP3+ Treg cells in both stromal (P = 0.04) and tumor (P = 0.006) compartments were observed in PTEN-deficient tumors compared to tumors that retained PTEN activity. Similarly, IDO1 protein expression was significantly increased in the tumor glands of PTEN-deficient PCa (P < 0.0001). Spearman correlation analysis showed that IDO1 expression was significantly associated with FoxP3+ Treg and CD8+ T-cell density (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Our findings imply that PTEN deficiency is linked to an immunosuppressive state in PCa with distinct changes in the frequency of immune cell types in tumors from different metastatic sites. Our data suggest that determining PTEN status may also help guide the selection of patients for future immunotherapy trials in localized and metastatic PCa.
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