The prognostic impact of NK/NKT cell density in periampullary adenocarcinoma differs by morphological type and adjuvant treatment

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Abstract

Background: Natural killer (NK) cells and NK T cells (NKT) are vital parts of tumour immunosurveillance. However, their impact on prognosis and chemotherapy response in periampullary adenocarcinoma, including pancreatic cancer, has not yet been described. Methods: Immune cell-specific expression of CD56, CD3, CD68 and CD1a was analysed by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays with tumours from 175 consecutive cases of periampullary adenocarcinoma, 110 of pancreatobiliary type (PB-type) and 65 of intestinal type (Itype) morphology. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis were applied to determine the impact of CD56+ NK/NKT cells on 5-year overall survival (OS). Results: High density of CD56+ NK/NKT cells correlated with low N-stage and lack of perineural, lymphatic vessel and peripancreatic fat invasion. High density of CD56+ NK/NKT cells was associated with prolonged OS in Kaplan-Meier analysis (p = 0.003), and in adjusted Cox regression analysis (HR = 0.49; 95% CI 0.29-0.86). The prognostic effect of high CD56+ NK/NKT cell infiltration was only evident in cases not receiving adjuvant chemotherapy in PB-type tumours (p for interaction = 0.014). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that abundant infiltration of CD56+ NK/NKT cells is associated with a prolonged survival in periampullary adenocarcinoma. However, the negative interaction with adjuvant treatment is noteworthy. NK cell enhancing strategies may prove to be successful in the management of these cancers.

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  • Other Clinical Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0156497
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes