Pathomic Features Reveal Immune and Molecular Evolution From Lung Preneoplasia to Invasive Adenocarcinoma
Recent statistics on lung cancer, including the steady decline of advanced diseases and the dramatically increasing detection of early-stage diseases and indeterminate pulmonary nodules, mark the significance of a comprehensive understanding of early lung carcinogenesis. Lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) is the most common histologic subtype of lung cancer, and atypical adenomatous hyperplasia is the only recognized preneoplasia to ADC, which may progress to adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) and minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (MIA) and eventually to invasive ADC. Although molecular evolution during early lung carcinogenesis has been explored in recent years, the progress has been significantly hindered, largely due to insufficient materials from ADC precursors. Here, we employed state-of-the-art deep learning and artificial intelligence techniques to robustly segment and recognize cells on routinely used hematoxylin and eosin histopathology images and extracted 9 biology-relevant pathomic features to decode lung preneoplasia evolution. We analyzed 3 distinct cohorts (Japan, China, and United States) covering 98 patients, 162 slides, and 669 regions of interest, including 143 normal, 129 atypical adenomatous hyperplasia, 94 AIS, 98 MIA, and 205 ADC. Extracted pathomic features revealed progressive increase of atypical epithelial cells and progressive decrease of lymphocytic cells from normal to AAH, AIS, MIA, and ADC, consistent with the results from tissue-consuming and expensive molecular/immune profiling. Furthermore, pathomics analysis manifested progressively increasing cellular intratumor heterogeneity along with the evolution from normal lung to invasive ADC. These findings demonstrated the feasibility and substantial potential of pathomics in studying lung cancer carcinogenesis directly from the low-cost routine hematoxylin and eosin staining.
Inflammation in the tumor-adjacent lung as a predictor of clinical outcome in lung adenocarcinoma
Approximately 30% of early-stage lung adenocarcinoma patients present with disease progression after successful surgical resection. Despite efforts of mapping the genetic landscape, there has been limited success in discovering predictive biomarkers of disease outcomes. Here we performed a systematic multi-omic assessment of 143 tumors and matched tumor-adjacent, histologically-normal lung tissue with long-term patient follow-up. Through histologic, mutational, and transcriptomic profiling of tumor and adjacent-normal tissue, we identified an inflammatory gene signature in tumor-adjacent tissue as the strongest clinical predictor of disease progression. Single-cell transcriptomic analysis demonstrated the progression-associated inflammatory signature was expressed in both immune and non-immune cells, and cell type-specific profiling in monocytes further improved outcome predictions. Additional analyses of tumor-adjacent transcriptomic data from The Cancer Genome Atlas validated the association of the inflammatory signature with worse outcomes across cancers. Collectively, our study suggests that molecular profiling of tumor-adjacent tissue can identify patients at high risk for disease progression.
Pleural fluid microbiota as a biomarker for malignancy and prognosis
Malignant pleural effusions (MPE) complicate malignancies and portend worse outcomes. MPE is comprised of various components, including immune cells, cancer cells, and cell-free DNA/RNA. There have been investigations into using these components to diagnose and prognosticate MPE. We hypothesize that the microbiome of MPE is unique and may be associated with diagnosis and prognosis. We compared the microbiota of MPE against microbiota of pleural effusions from non-malignant and paramalignant states. We collected a total of 165 pleural fluid samples from 165 subjects; Benign (n = 16), Paramalignant (n = 21), MPE-Lung (n = 57), MPE-Other (n = 22), and Mesothelioma (n = 49). We performed high throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing on pleural fluid samples and controls. We showed that there are compositional differences among pleural effusions related to non-malignant, paramalignant, and malignant disease. Furthermore, we showed differential enrichment of bacterial taxa within MPE depending on the site of primary malignancy. Pleural fluid of MPE-Lung and Mesothelioma were associated with enrichment with oral and gut bacteria that are commonly thought to be commensals, including Rickettsiella, Ruminococcus, Enterococcus, and Lactobacillales. Mortality in MPE-Lung is associated with enrichment in Methylobacterium, Blattabacterium, and Deinococcus. These observations lay the groundwork for future studies that explore host-microbiome interactions and their influence on carcinogenesis.
Immunotherapy for mesothelioma: Moving beyond single immune check point inhibition
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive neoplasm with low survival rates. Platinum-based chemotherapy has represented the cornerstone of treatment for over a decade, prompting the investigation of new therapeutic strategies both in the early stage of the disease and in the advanced setting. The advent of immune check-point inhibitors (ICIs) has recently revamped the enthusiasm for using immunotherapy also in MPM. However, results from first clinical trials using single immune check-point inhibition have been conflicting, and this may be mainly attributed to the lack of specific biomarkers as well as to intra- and inter- patient heterogeneity. The phase III Checkmate743 firstly demonstrated the superiority of an ICI combination (nivolumab plus ipilimumab) over chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of unresectable MPM, leading to FDA approval of this regimen and showing that moving beyond single immune check point inhibition might be a successful strategy to overcome resistance in the majority of MPM patients. In this review, we describe the emerging immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of MPM. We also discuss how refining the approach in pre-clinical studies towards a more holistic perspective (which takes into account not only genetic but also pathophysiological vulnerabilities) and strengthening multi-institutional collaboration in clinical trials is finally helping the clinical development of immunotherapy in MPM.
Microbial signatures in the lower airways of mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients associated with poor clinical outcome
Respiratory failure is associated with increased mortality in COVID-19 patients. There are no validated lower airway biomarkers to predict clinical outcome. We investigated whether bacterial respiratory infections were associated with poor clinical outcome of COVID-19 in a prospective, observational cohort of 589 critically ill adults, all of whom required mechanical ventilation. For a subset of 142 patients who underwent bronchoscopy, we quantified SARS-CoV-2 viral load, analysed the lower respiratory tract microbiome using metagenomics and metatranscriptomics and profiled the host immune response. Acquisition of a hospital-acquired respiratory pathogen was not associated with fatal outcome. Poor clinical outcome was associated with lower airway enrichment with an oral commensal (Mycoplasma salivarium). Increased SARS-CoV-2 abundance, low anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response and a distinct host transcriptome profile of the lower airways were most predictive of mortality. Our data provide evidence that secondary respiratory infections do not drive mortality in COVID-19 and clinical management strategies should prioritize reducing viral replication and maximizing host responses to SARS-CoV-2.
Low-Dose Tocilizumab With High-Dose Corticosteroids in Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19 Hypoxic Respiratory Failure Improves Mortality Without Increased Infection Risk
BACKGROUND:Severe hypoxic respiratory failure from COVID-19 pneumonia carries a high mortality risk. There is uncertainty surrounding which patients benefit from corticosteroids in combination with tocilizumab and the dosage and timing of these agents. The balance of controlling inflammation without increasing the risk of secondary infection is difficult. At present, dexamethasone 6 mg is the standard of care in COVID-19 hypoxia; whether this is the ideal choice of steroid or dosage remains to be proven. OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:The primary objective was to assess the impact on mortality of tocilizumab only, corticosteroids only, and combination therapy in patients with COVID-19 respiratory failure. METHODS:A multihospital, retrospective study of adult patients with severe respiratory failure from COVID-19 who received supportive therapy, corticosteroids, tocilizumab, or combination therapy were assessed for 28-day mortality, biomarker improvement, and relative risk of infection. Propensity-matched analysis was performed between corticosteroid alone and combination therapies to further assess mortality benefit. RESULTS:= 0.005] without increasing the risk of infection. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:Combination of tocilizumab and corticosteroids was associated with improved 28-day survival when compared with corticosteroids alone. Modification of steroid dosing strategy as well as steroid type may further optimize therapeutic effect of the COVID-19 treatment.
Derived Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio as a Potential Biomarker for Lung Cancer Survival [Meeting Abstract]
RATIONALE: Derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (dNLR) of peripheral blood, a marker of host inflammation and cytokine activation, may be a surrogate for more aggressive disease. It is a biomarker that has been associated with survival and response to immunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although an optimal threshold value has not been established. We had previously found in a NSCLC cohort that a dNLR cutoff of 2 was an optimal cutoff to predict survival at 6 months in patients with NSCLC; median survival was significantly shorter in patients with a >=2 dNLR (7.0 months) versus those with a <2 dNLR (64.5 months; p = 0.004). Here we present an interim analysis aiming to validate the use of this biomarker in a second cohort.
METHOD(S): A veteran cohort (n=42) from the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, who underwent diagnostic bronchoscopy and found to have NSCLC, was used as a validation cohort. Peripheral blood was obtained pre-treatment and at or near the time of diagnosis. The dNLR was calculated as ANC/(W
Characterization of Immune Microenvironment in Primary Tumor and Tumor Draining Lymph Nodes from Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Using Digital Spatial Profiling [Meeting Abstract]
Rationale:Malignant pleural mesothelioma(MPM) has a poor prognosis with median survival of 12-24 months. We are not aware of prior studies examining the immune microenvironment in tumor draining lymph nodes (TDLN) in MPM. Our aim is to compare the tumor microenvironment(TME) and the microenvironment of TDLN. We hypothesize that the TME will display an immunosuppressive phenotype reflected in the TDLN.
Method(s):We performed digital spatial profiling(DSP) using the GeoMx (NanoString) platform on stored primary tumor and nodal biopsy specimens from 3 patients from our tumor bank. Samples from both primary tumor and lymph nodes were sectioned and labeled with pancytokeratin (CK). Tissue was then classified as "tumor" or "nontumor" using semi-automated segmentation based on pan-Cytokeratin (panK) labeling. The slides were then labeled with antibodies to 58 selected markers, with each unique antibody attached to a respective oligonucleotide. The tissue was exposed to UV light separately for tumor and non-tumor regions, cleaving the oligonucleotides from the attached antibodies. The oligonucleotides from the separate tumor and non-tumor regions were quantified using nCounter (NanoString).
Result(s):The non-neoplastic regions of the primary tumor contained higher expression of proteins associated with inflammatory cells including helper T-cells, cytotoxic T-cells, B-cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells(Table 1). Furthermore, there was greater expression of immune checkpoint proteins, PD-L1 and CTLA-4, and CD163 and CD14, proteins associated with immunosuppressive macrophages, in the non-neoplastic region compared to the neoplastic region of the tumoe(Table 1). TDLNs contained similar levels of expression of lymphocyte markers, including those delineating cytotoxic T-cells and helper T-cells, as the primary tumor(Table 1). Despite this, TME expressed higher levels of T-cell exhaustion and immunsupression markers (FOXP3, LAG3, PD-1, CTLA-4) than TDLN(Table 1).
Conclusion(s):DSP is feasible in Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) mesothelioma specimens, providing a method for using quantitative immunopathology to study corresponding immune microenvironments. In our study, the non-tumor region of the primary tumor contained macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and cancer-associated fibroblasts consistent with prior descriptions of the mesothelioma TME. Increased expression of immune checkpoint molecules in the non-tumor region suggests an immunosuppressive TME. TDLNs demonstrated similar lymphocyte markers, but without corresponding immune checkpoint expression of t suggesting the immunosuppressive phenotype of the TME may not be reflected in TDLNs. This pilot study is the first to use DSP to preliminarily characterize TDLNs in mesothelioma. We plan to apply this approach to stored additional MPM and NSCLC specimens to gain an in-depth understanding of the relationship between TME and TDLN
Microbial signatures in the lower airways of mechanically ventilated COVID19 patients associated with poor clinical outcome
Mortality among patients with COVID-19 and respiratory failure is high and there are no known lower airway biomarkers that predict clinical outcome. We investigated whether bacterial respiratory infections and viral load were associated with poor clinical outcome and host immune tone. We obtained bacterial and fungal culture data from 589 critically ill subjects with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. On a subset of the subjects that underwent bronchoscopy, we also quantified SARS-CoV-2 viral load, analyzed the microbiome of the lower airways by metagenome and metatranscriptome analyses and profiled the host immune response. We found that isolation of a hospital-acquired respiratory pathogen was not associated with fatal outcome. However, poor clinical outcome was associated with enrichment of the lower airway microbiota with an oral commensal ( Mycoplasma salivarium ), while high SARS-CoV-2 viral burden, poor anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, together with a unique host transcriptome profile of the lower airways were most predictive of mortality. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that 1) the extent of viral infectivity drives mortality in severe COVID-19, and therefore 2) clinical management strategies targeting viral replication and host responses to SARS-CoV-2 should be prioritized.
Lung Cancer Characteristics in the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center
The destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers on 11 September 2001 resulted in acute and chronic dust and fume exposures to community members, including local workers and residents, with well-described aerodigestive adverse health effects. This study aimed to characterize lung cancer in the WTC Environmental Health Center (WTC EHC) focusing on gender and smoking history. WTC EHC patients undergo an initial evaluation that includes WTC exposure information, demographics, and tobacco use. Detailed cancer characteristics are recorded from pathology reports. As of 31 December 2019, 248 WTC EHC patients had a diagnosis of lung cancer. More patients with lung cancer were women (57%) compared to men (43%). Many cases (47% women, 51% men) reported acute dust cloud exposure. Thirty-seven percent of lung cancer cases with available smoking history were never-smokers (â‰¤1 pack-years) and 42% had a â‰¤5 pack-year history. The median age of cancer diagnosis in never-smoking women was 61 years compared to 66 years in men. Adenocarcinoma was more common in never-smokers compared to ever-smokers (72% vs. 65%) and in women compared to men (70% vs. 65%). We provide an initial description of lung cancers in local community members with documented exposure to the WTC dust and fumes.