J Immunother. 2020 Oct 20. doi: 10.1097/CJI.0000000000000343. Online ahead of print.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common malignancy worldwide. The novel immune checkpoint V-domain Ig suppressor of T-cell activation (VISTA) has emerged as a promising target for cancer treatment; however, the prognostic significance of its expression in CRC remains unknown. In this study, immunohistochemical staining was used to investigate VISTA expression in tissue microarrays from 1434 patients with stage I-III CRC (816 in the exploratory cohort and 618 in the validation cohort).
VISTA protein was evaluated separately in tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells (ICs). The associations between VISTA expression, mismatch repair (MMR) status, and clinicopathologic parameters were analyzed, as was the effect of VISTA on survival. High VISTA expression on ICs (ie, ≥5% staining) was more frequent in patients with N0 stage, T1-2 stage, low tumor grade, high CD8 density, and MMR-deficient tumors, and was positively associated with prolonged survival in patients with CRC. High VISTA expression was a significant predictor of prolonged survival independent of clinicopathologic parameters and MMR status. Overall, our results indicate that high VISTA expression on tumor-infiltrating ICs correlates with early tumor stage, MMR deficiency, and a favorable prognosis in patients with CRC. This ought to be considered in future trials of VISTA-modulating immunotherapy for patients with CRC.