Analytical validation of quantitative immunohistochemical assays of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte biomarkers.
Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), especially T-cells, have both prognostic and therapeutic applications. The presence of CD8+ effector T-cells and the ratio of CD8+ cells to FOXP3+ regulatory T-cells have been used as biomarkers of disease prognosis to predict response to various immunotherapies. Blocking the interaction between inhibitory receptors on T-cells and their ligands with therapeutic antibodies including atezolizumab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab and tremelimumab increases the immune response against cancer cells and has shown significant improvement in clinical benefits and survival in several different tumor types. The improved clinical outcome is presumed to be associated with a higher tumor infiltration; therefore, it is thought that more accurate methods for measuring the amount of TIL could assist prognosis and predict treatment response. We have developed and validated quantitative immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays for CD3, CD8 and FOXP3 for immunophenotyping T-lymphocytes in tumor tissue. Various types of formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissues were immunolabeled with anti-CD3, anti-CD8 and anti-FOXP3 antibodies using an IHC autostainer. The tumor area of stained tissues, including the invasive margin of the tumor, was scored by a pathologist (visual scoring) and by computer-based quantitative image analysis. Two image analysis scores were obtained for the staining of each biomarker: the percent positive cells in the tumor area and positive cells/mm2 tumor area. Comparison of visual vs. image analysis scoring methods using regression analysis showed high correlation and indicated that quantitative image analysis can be used to score the number of positive cells in IHC stained slides. To demonstrate that the IHC assays produce consistent results in normal daily testing, we evaluated the specificity, sensitivity and reproducibility of the IHC assays using both visual and image analysis scoring methods. We found that CD3, CD8 and FOXP3 IHC assays met the fit-for-purpose analytical acceptance validation criteria and that they can be used to support clinical studies.
Singh, U; Cui, Y; Dimaano, N; Mehta, S; Pruitt, SK; Yearley, J; Laterza, OF; Juco, JW; Dogdas, B
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