Can immune markers help identify fast relapse in patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer?

Bladder Cancer

Pathol Res Pract. 2020 Sep 5;216(11):153200. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2020.153200. Online ahead of print.


The aim of this pilot study was to assess the role of immune markers in fast relapse (<2 years) of high-grade muscle invasive urothelial carcinomas of the bladder (HGUC) treated by cystectomy. A series of 40 such cases was investigated for immune protein (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD20, CD68, CD163, FOXP3 and PD-1) status by immunohistochemistry. Decreased expression of all immune cell markers was observed in tumors of patients who relapsed quickly. In Kaplan-Meier (log-rank test) analysis, low CD3, CD4 and CD8 expression was associated with fast relapse (P = 0.005, 0.028, 0.036 respectively). Additional evaluation of the immune transcriptome by NanoString Human PanCancer Immune Panel v.1.1 has identified 5 differentially expressed genes significantly associated with fast relapse. Among these, KLRB1 and HLA-DQA1 were also significant on Kaplan-Meier analysis (log-rank test P = 0.007 and 0.006, respectively). These findings strengthen the potential clinical utility and, hence, the need for further evaluation of immune markers in HGUC prognostication.