Within the concert of immune reactions against tumour cells cytotoxic and regulatory T-cells are of utmost importance. Several studies revealed contradictory results on this issue. We therefore focused on functional expression patterns and localization of tumour-infiltrating T-lymphocytes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and their impact on patient's survival. 232 curatively operated NSCLC patients were included. After histological reevaluation and construction of tissue-multi-arrays immunohistochemical doublestains for CD3/CD8 and CD4/CD25 were performed to evaluate the total number of T-cells and their subsets of cytotoxic and activated T-cells. Additionally, the localization of the lymphocytes was included in the analysis. Hereby, T-cells within the tumour stroma were regarded as stromal, those among cancer cells as intraepithelial. The number of lymphocytes differed significantly between the histological subtypes being most prominent in large cell carcinomas. Survival analysis showed that high numbers of stromal T-lymphocytes are of beneficial prognostic influence in NSCLC patients. This also proved to be an independent prognostic factor in adenocarcinomas. Thus, in a large and well characterized cohort of NSCLC this is the first study to determine the prognostic value of stromal T-lymphocytes, as these are an independent prognosticator in NSCLC especially in adenocarcinomas whereas intraepithelial T-cells are not.
- Lung cancer
- Tissue micro array