International researchers link immune response to overall survival in ovarian cancer

Paul Basilio, MDLinx | October 27, 2017

An international group of cancer researchers have found that the level of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes present in high-grade ovarian tumors may predict survival. The study was led by investigators from the Mayo Clinic and the University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia, and were published in JAMA Oncology.

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A better understanding of factors that increase cytotoxic CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes will be the key to better treatments for high-grade ovarian cancer.

“We know that a type of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte called cytotoxic CD8 are present in the tumors of patients with high-grade ovarian cancer,” said Matthew Block, MD, PhD, a Mayo Clinic oncologist who co-led the research team with Ellen Goode, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Genetic Epidemiology and Risk Assessment Program. “However, little was known about the role in fighting high-grade ovarian cancer, compared to other clinical factors.”

Researchers studied more than 5,500 patients from nine countries; 3,196 patients with high-grade ovarian cancer were included. Results showed that patients with high-grade ovarian cancer displayed the most infiltration with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, which were associated with longer overall survival.

“This study shows the higher the level of cytotoxic CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in a tumor, the better the survival for patients with high-grade ovarian cancer,” Dr. Block said.

He added that a better understanding of factors that increase cytotoxic CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes will be the key to developing treatments to achieve better outcomes in patients with high-grade ovarian cancer.

“This is by far the largest study of this type and would not have been possible without scientists from North and South America, Europe and Australia all working together,” said Susan Ramus, PhD, University of New South Wales Sydney.

To read more about this study, click here

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