Adenocarcinoma of the Uterine Cervix Shows Impaired Recruitment of cDC1 and CD8+ T Cells and Elevated β-Catenin Activation Compared with Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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PURPOSE: Adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix is the second most common type of cervical cancer after squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Although both subtypes are treated similarly, patients with adenocarcinoma have a worse prognosis. In this study, immunologic features of the tumor microenvironment in these two subsets were pursued with potential therapeutic implications. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The immune microenvironment of primary tumors and nonmetastatic tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN) was compared between patients with cervical adenocarcinoma (n = 16) and SCC (n = 20) by polychromatic flow cytometry and by transcriptional profiling of the primary tumors (n = 299) using publicly available data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). RESULTS: Flow cytometric analyses revealed intact T-cell differentiation in TDLNs, but hampered effector T-cell trafficking to the primary tumors in adenocarcinoma, as compared with SCC. TCGA analysis demonstrated higher expression of chemokines involved in effector T-cell homing (CXCL9/10/11) in SCC primary tumors as compared with adenocarcinoma primary tumors, which was highly correlated to a transcriptional signature for type I conventional dendritic cells (cDC1). This was consistent with elevated frequencies of CD141/BDCA3+cDC1 in primary tumor SCC samples relative to adenocarcinoma and correspondingly elevated levels of CXCL9 and CXCL10 in 24-hour ex vivo cultures. Hampered cDC1 recruitment in adenocarcinoma was in turn related to lower transcript levels of cDC1-recruiting chemokines and an elevated β-catenin activation score and was associated with poor overall survival. CONCLUSIONS: Our data have identified an opportunity for the investigation of potentially novel therapeutic interventions in adenocarcinoma of the cervix, that is, β-catenin inhibition and cDC1 mobilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3791-3802
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number14
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020

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