Association of tumor-infiltrating T-cell density with molecular subtype, racial ancestry and clinical outcomes in prostate cancer

Harsimar B. Kaur, Liana B. Guedes, Jiayun Lu, Laneisha Maldonado, Logan Reitz, John R. Barber, Angelo M. De Marzo, Jeffrey J. Tosoian, Scott A. Tomlins, Edward M. Schaeffer, Corinne E. Joshu, Karen S. Sfanos, Tamara L. Lotan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The inflammatory microenvironment plays an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of tumors and may be associated with somatic genomic alterations. We examined the association of tumor-infiltrating T-cell density with clinical-pathologic variables, tumor molecular subtype, and oncologic outcomes in surgically treated primary prostate cancer occurring in patients of European-American or African-American ancestry. We evaluated 312 primary prostate tumors, enriched for patients with African-American ancestry and high grade disease. Tissue microarrays were immunostained for CD3, CD8, and FOXP3 and were previously immunostained for ERG and PTEN using genetically validated protocols. Image analysis for quantification of T-cell density in tissue microarray tumor spots was performed. Automated quantification of T-cell densities in tumor-containing regions of tissue microarray spots and standard histologic sections were correlated (r = 0.73, p < 0.00001) and there was good agreement between visual and automated T-cell density counts on tissue microarray spots (r = 0.93, p < 0.00001). There was a significant correlation between CD3+, CD8+, and FOXP3+ T-cell densities (p < 0.00001), but these were not associated with most clinical or pathologic variables. Increased T-cell density was significantly associated with ERG positivity (median 309 vs. 188 CD3+ T cells/mm2; p = 0.0004) and also with PTEN loss (median 317 vs. 192 CD3+ T cells/mm2; p = 0.001) in the combined cohort of matched European-American and African-American ancestry patients. The same association or a similar trend was present in patients of both ancestries when analyzed separately. When the African-American patients from the matched race set were combined with a separate high grade set of African-American cases, there was a weak association of increased FOXP3+ T-cell densities with increased risk of metastasis in multivariable analysis. Though high T-cell density is associated with specific molecular subclasses of prostate cancer, we did not find an association of T-cell density with racial ancestry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1539-1552
Number of pages14
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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