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Immune activation by DNA damage predicts response to chemotherapy and survival in oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

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Turkington, Richard C 
Knight, Laura A 
Blayney, Jaine K 
Secrier, Maria 
Douglas, Rosalie 


OBJECTIVE: Current strategies to guide selection of neoadjuvant therapy in oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) are inadequate. We assessed the ability of a DNA damage immune response (DDIR) assay to predict response following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in OAC. DESIGN: Transcriptional profiling of 273 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded prechemotherapy endoscopic OAC biopsies was performed. All patients were treated with platinum-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy and resection between 2003 and 2014 at four centres in the Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification consortium. CD8 and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemical staining was assessed in matched resection specimens from 126 cases. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis were applied according to DDIR status for recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). RESULTS: A total of 66 OAC samples (24%) were DDIR positive with the remaining 207 samples (76%) being DDIR negative. DDIR assay positivity was associated with improved RFS (HR: 0.61; 95% CI 0.38 to 0.98; p=0.042) and OS (HR: 0.52; 95% CI 0.31 to 0.88; p=0.015) following multivariate analysis. DDIR-positive patients had a higher pathological response rate (p=0.033), lower nodal burden (p=0.026) and reduced circumferential margin involvement (p=0.007). No difference in OS was observed according to DDIR status in an independent surgery-alone dataset.DDIR-positive OAC tumours were also associated with the presence of CD8+ lymphocytes (intratumoural: p<0.001; stromal: p=0.026) as well as PD-L1 expression (intratumoural: p=0.047; stromal: p=0.025). CONCLUSION: The DDIR assay is strongly predictive of benefit from DNA-damaging neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgical resection and is associated with a proinflammatory microenvironment in OAC.



Dna damage, chemotherapy, immune response, oesophageal cancer

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British Medical Journal
Cancer Research Uk (None)
This work was supported by the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Charitable Fund administered by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, the Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Initiative, Invest Northern Ireland and Almac Diagnostics. Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS) was funded by a programme grant from Cancer Research UK (RG66287). We would like to thank the Human Research Tissue Bank, which is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre from Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Additional infrastructure support was provided from the CRUK funded Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. RF has programmatic funding from the Medical Research Council and infrastructure support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and the Cambridge Experimental Medicine Centre. Tissue samples used in this research were received from the Northern Ireland Biobank, which is funded by HSC Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and Cancer Research UK through the Belfast Cancer Research UK Centre and the Northern Ireland Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre; additional support was received from the Friends of the Cancer Centre. The Northern Ireland Molecular Pathology Laboratory has received funding from Cancer Research UK, the Friends of the Cancer Centre and the Sean Crummey Foundation. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no 721906. The OCCAMS Study Group is a multicentre UK collaboration.