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Blood. 2012 Oct 18;120(16):3280-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-04-421057. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Tumor-associated macrophages predict inferior outcomes in classic Hodgkin lymphoma: a correlative study from the E2496 Intergroup trial.

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Centre for Lymphoid Cancer, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.


Increased tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are reported to be associated with poor prognosis in classic Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL). We investigated the prognostic significance of TAMs in the E2496 Intergroup trial, a multicenter phase 3 randomized controlled trial comparing ABVD and Stanford V chemotherapy in locally extensive and advanced stage CHL. Tissue microarrays were constructed from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissue and included 287 patients. Patients were randomly assigned into training (n = 143) and validation (n = 144) cohorts. Immunohistochemistry for CD68 and CD163, and in situ hybridization for EBV-encoded RNA were performed. CD68 and CD163 IHC were analyzed by computer image analysis; optimum thresholds for overall survival (OS) were determined in the training cohort and tested in the independent validation cohort. Increased CD68 and CD163 expression was significantly associated with inferior failure-free survival and OS in the validation cohort. Increased CD68 and CD163 expression was associated with increased age, EBV-encoded RNA positivity, and mixed cellularity subtype of CHL. Multivariate analysis in the validation cohort showed increased CD68 or CD163 expression to be significant independent predictors of inferior failure-free survival and OS. We demonstrate the prognostic significance of TAMs in locally extensive and advanced-stage CHL in a multicenter phase 3 randomized controlled clinical trial.

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