Spatial biology analysis reveals B cell follicles in secondary lymphoid structures may regulate anti-tumor responses at initial melanoma diagnosis.
Introduction: B cells are key regulators of immune responses in melanoma. We aimed to explore differences in the histologic location and activation status of B cell follicles in sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) of melanoma patients. Methods: Flow cytometry was performed on fresh tumor draining lymph nodes (LN). Paraffin slides from a separate cohort underwent NanoString Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP)®. After staining with fluorescent markers for CD20 (B cells), CD3 (T cells), CD11c (antigen presenting cells) and a nuclear marker (tumor) was performed, regions of interest (ROI) were selected based on the location of B cell regions (B cell follicles). A panel of 68 proteins was then analyzed from the ROIs. Results: B cell percentage trended higher in patients with tumor in LN (n=3) compared to patients with nSLN (n=10) by flow cytometry. B cell regions from a separate cohort of patients with tumor in the (pSLN) (n=8) vs. no tumor (nSLN) (n=16) were examined with DSP. Within B cell regions of the SLN, patients with pSLN had significantly higher expression of multiple activation markers including Ki-67 compared to nSLN patients. Among 4 patients with pSLN, we noted variability in arrangement of B cell follicles which were either surrounding the tumor deposit or appeared to be infiltrating the tumor. The B cell follicle infiltrative pattern was associated with prolonged recurrence free survival. Conclusion: These data suggest a role for B cell follicles in coordinating effective adaptive immune responses in melanoma when low volume metastatic disease is present in tumor draining LN.
Therien, AD; Beasley, GM; Rhodin, KE; Farrow, NE; Tyler, DS; Boczkowski, D; Al-Rohil, RN; Holl, EK; Nair, SK
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