Exploring the immune microenvironment in small bowel adenocarcinoma using digital image analysis

Fatima Abdullahi Sidi, Victoria Bingham, Stephen McQuaid, Stephanie G. Craig, Richard C. Turkington, Jacqueline A. James, Matthew P. Humphries*, Manuel Salto-Tellez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA) is a rare malignancy of the small intestine associated with late stage diagnosis and poor survival outcome. High expression of immune cells and immune checkpoint biomarkers especially programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) have been shown to significantly impact disease progression. We have analysed the expression of a subset of immune cell and immune checkpoint biomarkers in a cohort of SBA patients and assessed their impact on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

25 patient samples in the form of formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue were obtained in tissue microarray (TMAs) format. Automated immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining was performed using validated antibodies for CD3, CD4, CD8, CD68, PD-L1, ICOS, IDO1 and LAG3. Slides were scanned digitally and assessed in QuPath, an open source image analysis software, for biomarker density and percentage positivity. Survival analyses were carried out using the Kaplan Meier method.

Varying expressions of biomarkers were recorded. High expressions of CD3, CD4 and IDO1 were significant for PFS (p = 0.043, 0.020 and 0.018 respectively). High expression of ICOS was significant for both PFS (p = 0.040) and OS (p = 0.041), while high PD-L1 expression in tumour cells was significant for OS (p = 0.033). High correlation was observed between PD-L1 and IDO1 expressions (Pearson correlation co-efficient = 1) and subsequently high IDO1 expression in tumour cells was found to be significant for PFS (p = 0.006) and OS (p = 0.034).

High levels of immune cells and immune checkpoint proteins have a significant impact on patient survival in SBA. These data could provide an insight into the immunotherapeutic management of patients with SBA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0289355
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2023


  • Adenocarcinoma - pathology
  • B7-H1 Antigen - metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor - metabolism
  • Duodenal Neoplasms - pathology
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small - metabolism
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tumor Microenvironment


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