Cutaneous T cell lymphomas (CTCL) are rare but aggressive cancers without effective treatments. While a subset of patients derive benefit from PD-1 blockade, there is a critically unmet need for predictive biomarkers of response. Herein, we perform CODEX multiplexed tissue imaging and RNA sequencing on 70 tumor regions from 14 advanced CTCL patients enrolled in a pembrolizumab clinical trial (NCT02243579). We find no differences in the frequencies of immune or tumor cells between responders and non-responders. Instead, we identify topographical differences between effector PD-1+ CD4+ T cells, tumor cells, and immunosuppressive Tregs, from which we derive a spatial biomarker, termed the SpatialScore, that correlates strongly with pembrolizumab response in CTCL. The SpatialScore coincides with differences in the functional immune state of the tumor microenvironment, T cell function, and tumor cell-specific chemokine recruitment and is validated using a simplified, clinically accessible tissue imaging platform. Collectively, these results provide a paradigm for investigating the spatial balance of effector and suppressive T cell activity and broadly leveraging this biomarker approach to inform the clinical use of immunotherapies.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-26974-6
View details for PubMedID 34795254