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.
The lung microbiome, peripheral gene expression, and recurrence-free survival after resection of stage II non-small cell lung cancer
BACKGROUND:Cancer recurrence after tumor resection in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is common, yet difficult to predict. The lung microbiota and systemic immunity may be important modulators of risk for lung cancer recurrence, yet biomarkers from the lung microbiome and peripheral immune environment are understudied. Such markers may hold promise for prediction as well as improved etiologic understanding of lung cancer recurrence. METHODS:In tumor and distant normal lung samples from 46 stage II NSCLC patients with curative resection (39 tumor samples, 41 normal lung samples), we conducted 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We also measured peripheral blood immune gene expression with nanoStringÂ®. We examined associations of lung microbiota and peripheral gene expression with recurrence-free survival (RFS) and disease-free survival (DFS) using 500 Ã— 10-fold cross-validated elastic-net penalized Cox regression, and examined predictive accuracy using time-dependent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. RESULTS:Over a median of 4.8 years of follow-up (range 0.2-12.2 years), 43% of patients experienced a recurrence, and 50% died. In normal lung tissue, a higher abundance of classes Bacteroidia and Clostridia, and orders Bacteroidales and Clostridiales, were associated with worse RFS, while a higher abundance of classes Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria, and orders Burkholderiales and Neisseriales, were associated with better RFS. In tumor tissue, a higher abundance of orders Actinomycetales and Pseudomonadales were associated with worse DFS. Among these taxa, normal lung Clostridiales and Bacteroidales were also related to worse survival in a previous small pilot study and an additional independent validation cohort. In peripheral blood, higher expression of genes TAP1, TAPBP, CSF2RB, and IFITM2 were associated with better DFS. Analysis of ROC curves revealed that lung microbiome and peripheral gene expression biomarkers provided significant additional recurrence risk discrimination over standard demographic and clinical covariates, with microbiome biomarkers contributing more to short-term (1-year) prediction and gene biomarkers contributing to longer-term (2-5-year) prediction. CONCLUSIONS:We identified compelling biomarkers in under-explored data types, the lung microbiome, and peripheral blood gene expression, which may improve risk prediction of recurrence in early-stage NSCLC patients. These findings will require validation in a larger cohort.
Controversies and challenges in lung cancer screening
Two large randomized controlled trials have shown mortality benefit from lung cancer screening (LCS) in high-risk groups. Updated guidelines by the United State Preventative Service Task Force in 2020 will allow for inclusion of more patients who are at high risk of developing lung cancer and benefit from screening. As medical clinics and lung cancer screening programs around the country continue to work on perfecting the LCS workflow, it is important to understand some controversial issues surrounding LCS that should be addressed. In this article, we identify some of these issues, including false positive rates of low-dose CT, over-diagnosis, cost expenditure, LCS disparities in minorities, and utility of biomarkers. We hope to provide clarity, potential solutions, and future directions on how to address these controversies.
Chronic Lower Airway Dysbiosis with Human Oral Commensals Leads to Both Increased IL-17A and Immune Exhaustion Tone in the Lower Airways [Meeting Abstract]
Microbial Signatures in Malignant Pleural Effusions [Meeting Abstract]
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.
Hormonal intervention for the treatment of veterans with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization (HITCH): a multicenter, phase 2 randomized controlled trial of best supportive care vs best supportive care plus degarelix: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND:Therapeutic targeting of host-cell factors required for SARS-CoV-2 entry is an alternative strategy to ameliorate COVID-19 severity. SARS-CoV-2 entry into lung epithelium requires the TMPRSS2 cell surface protease. Pre-clinical and correlative data in humans suggest that anti-androgenic therapies can reduce the expression of TMPRSS2 on lung epithelium. Accordingly, we hypothesize that therapeutic targeting of androgen receptor signaling via degarelix, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonist, will suppress COVID-19 infection and ameliorate symptom severity. METHODS:This is a randomized phase 2, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial in 198 patients to compare efficacy of degarelix plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care on improving the clinical outcomes of male Veterans who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Enrolled patients must have documented infection with SARS-CoV-2 based on a positive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction result performed on a nasopharyngeal swab and have a severity of illness of level 3-5 (hospitalized but not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation). Patients stratified by age, history of hypertension, and severity are centrally randomized 2:1 (degarelix: placebo). The composite primary endpoint is mortality, ongoing need for hospitalization, or requirement for mechanical ventilation at 15 after randomization. Important secondary endpoints include time to clinical improvement, inpatient mortality, length of hospitalization, duration of mechanical ventilation, time to achieve a normal temperature, and the maximum severity of COVID-19 illness. Exploratory analyses aim to assess the association of cytokines, viral load, and various comorbidities with outcome. In addition, TMPRSS2 expression in target tissue and development of anti-viral antibodies will also be investigated. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:In this trial, we repurpose the FDA approved LHRH antagonist degarelix, commonly used for prostate cancer, to suppress TMPRSS2, a host cell surface protease required for SARS-CoV-2 cell entry. The objective is to determine if temporary androgen suppression with a single dose of degarelix improves the clinical outcomes of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04397718. Registered on May 21, 2020.
Functional lower airways genomic profiling of the microbiome to capture active microbial metabolism
RATIONALE/BACKGROUND:Microbiome studies of the lower airway based on bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing assess microbial community structure but can only infer functional characteristics. Microbial products, such as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), in the lower airways have significant impact on the host's immune tone. Thus, functional approaches to the analyses of the microbiome are necessary. METHODS:Here we used upper and lower airway samples from a research bronchoscopy smoker cohort. In addition, we validated our results in an experimental mouse model. MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:We extended our microbiota characterisation beyond 16S rRNA gene sequencing with the use of whole genome (WGS) and RNA metatranscriptome sequencing. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) were also measured in lower airway samples and correlated with each of the sequencing datasets. In the mouse model, 16S rRNA gene and RNA metatranscriptome sequencing were performed. MAIN RESULTS/RESULTS:Functional evaluations of the lower airway microbiota using inferred metagenome, WGS and metatranscriptome were dissimilar. Comparison with measured levels of SCFAs shows that the inferred metagenome from the 16S rRNA gene sequencing data was poorly correlated, while better correlations were noted when SCFAs levels were compared with WGS and metatranscriptome. Modelling lower airway aspiration with oral commensals in a mouse model showed that the metatranscriptome most efficiently captures transient active microbial metabolism, which was overestimated by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. CONCLUSIONS:Functional characterisation of the lower airway microbiota through metatranscriptome identify metabolically active organisms capable of producing metabolites with immunomodulatory capacity such as SCFAs.
Episodic Aspiration with Oral Commensals Induces a MyD88-dependent, Pulmonary Th17 Response that Mitigates Susceptibility to Streptococcus pneumoniae
Rationale Cross-sectional human data suggest that enrichment of oral anaerobic bacteria in the lung is associated with increased Th17 inflammatory phenotype. In this study we evaluated the microbial and host immune response dynamics after aspiration with a oral commensals using a preclinical mouse model. Methods Aspiration with a mixture of human oral commensals (MOC; Prevotella melaninogenica, Veillonella parvula, and Streptococcus mitis) was modeled in mice followed by variable time of sacrifice. Genetic background of mice included WT, MyD88 knock out and STAT3C. Measurements 16S rRNA gene sequencing characterized changes in microbiota. Flow cytometry, cytokine measurement via Luminex and RNA host transcriptome sequencing was used to characterize host immune phenotype. Main Results While MOC aspiration correlated with lower airway dysbiosis that resolved within five days, it induced an extended inflammatory response associated with IL17-producing T-cells lasting at least 14 days. MyD88 expression was required for the IL-17 response to MOC aspiration, but not for T-cell activation or IFN-Î³ expression. MOC aspiration prior to a respiratory challenge with S. pneumoniae led to a decreased in host's susceptibility to this pathogen. Conclusions Thus, in otherwise healthy mice, a single aspiration event with oral commensals are rapidly cleared from the lower airways, but induce a prolonged Th17 response that secondarily decreased susceptibility to respiratory pathogens. Translationally, these data implicate an immuno-protective role of episodic microaspiration of oral microbes in the regulation of the lung immune phenotype and mitigation of host susceptibility to infection with lower airway pathogens.
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