J Cancer 2017; 8(16):3190-3197. doi:10.7150/jca.20172

Research Paper

Correlation of cancer stem cell markers and immune cell markers in resected non-small cell lung cancer

Zhaoqin Huang1, Haining Yu2, Jianbo Zhang3, Haiyan Jing4, Wanqi Zhu2, Xiaolin Li2, Lingling Kong2, Ligang Xing2, Jinming Yu2, Xiangjiao Meng2✉

1. Department of Radiology, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China;
2. Department of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Cancer Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Shandong Academic of Medical Science, Jinan, Shandong, China;
3. Department of Pathology, Shandong Cancer Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Shandong Academic of Medical Science, Jinan, China;
4. Department of Pathology, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China.

Abstract

Background: Recent studies confirmed that immunotherapy showed prominent efficacy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Cancer stem cells/cancer initiating cells are resistant to anticancer treatment. The purpose of the study was to analyze the correlation of cancer stem cells/cancer initiating cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells in NSCLC.

Methods: CD133, octamer 4 (OCT-4), CD8, CD56, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) were assessed in 172 resected NSCLC samples. The staining was analyzed and scored by the pathologist who was blinded to the clinical pathological data of the patients.

Results: High CD8+ T cell infiltration was correlated significantly with squamous cell carcinoma histology (p=0.008). High PD-L1 expression (≥10%) was associated with high tumor status (p=0.043). Pearson's correlation test showed that CD56+ cells were negatively correlated with CD133 expression (r=-0.361, p<0.001) and weakly correlated with negative OCT-4 expression (r=-0.180, p=0.018). There was a strong positive correlation between CD8 and HLA class I (r=0.573, p<0.001). In the survival analysis, high CD8+ T cell infiltration is an independent predictor of improved disease-free survival and overall survival. Patients with low CD133 expression and high CD56 expression had a longer overall survival than those with high CD133 expression and/or low CD56 expression (p=0.013).

Conclusion: There is a negative correlation between CD56+ cells and cancer stem cell markers. This correlation may confirm the possibility that natural killer cells can target CD133+ cancer stem cells/cancer initiating cells in non-small cell lung cancer.

Keywords: Non-small cell lung cancer, CD133, OCT-4, CD8+ T cells, NK cells

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How to cite this article:
Huang Z, Yu H, Zhang J, Jing H, Zhu W, Li X, Kong L, Xing L, Yu J, Meng X. Correlation of cancer stem cell markers and immune cell markers in resected non-small cell lung cancer. J Cancer 2017; 8(16):3190-3197. doi:10.7150/jca.20172. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p3190.htm