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PLoS One. 2015 May 15;10(5):e0124531. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124531. eCollection 2015.

Macrophage polarization reflects T cell composition of tumor microenvironment in pediatric classical Hodgkin lymphoma and has impact on survival.

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Institute for Pathology, Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Institute for Pathology, Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, Instituto Nacional de Câncer (INCA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, Instituto Nacional de Câncer (INCA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Institute for Pathology, Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Institute for Pathology, Sana Klinikum Lichtenberg, Berlin, Germany.


Macrophages have been implicated in the pathogenesis of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) and have been suggested to have a negative impact on outcome. Most studies addressing the role of macrophages in cHL have relied on identification of macrophages by generic macrophage antigens, e.g., CD68. We have therefore conducted an in situ analysis of macrophage polarization in a series of 100 pediatric cHL (pcHL) cases using double staining immunohistochemistry, combining CD68 or CD163 with pSTAT1 (M1-like) or CMAF (M2-like). M1- or M2-polarised microenvironment was defined by an excess of one population over the other (>1.5). Expression of STAT1 and LYZ genes was also evaluated by RT-qPCR. Patients <14 years and EBV+ cases displayed higher numbers of CD68+pSTAT1+ cells than older children and EBV- cases, respectively (P=0.01 and P=0.02). A cytotoxic tumor microenvironment, defined by a CD8+/FOXP3+ ratio >1.5 was associated with higher numbers of CD68+pSTAT1+ (P=0.025) and CD163+pSTAT1+ macrophages (P<0.0005). Levels of STAT1 and LYZ expression were associated with the numbers of CD68+pSTAT1+ macrophages. EBV+ cHL cases disclosed a predominant M1 polarized microenvironment similar to Th1 mediated inflammatory disorders, while EBV- cHL showed a predominant M2 polarized microenvironment closer to Th2 mediated inflammatory diseases. Better overall-survival (OS) was observed in cases with higher numbers of CD163+pSTAT1+ macrophages (P=0.02) while larger numbers of CD163+CMAF+ macrophages were associated with worse progression-free survival (PFS) (P=0.02). Predominant M1-like polarization as disclosed by CD163+pSTAT1+/CD163+CMAF+ ratio > 1.5 was associated with better OS (P= 0.037). In conclusion, macrophage polarization in pcHL correlates with prevalent local T cell response and may be influenced by the EBV-status of neoplastic cells. Besides, M1-like and M2-like macrophages displayed differential effects on outcome in pcHL.

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