Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have shown durable and long-term benefits in a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. To identify patient-responders from non-responders, biomarkers are needed which are predictive of outcome to ICI therapy. Cues in the tumour microenvironment (TME) have been informative in understanding the tumour-immune contexture. In this study, the NanoString GemoMx™ Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP) technology was used to determine the immune marker and compartment specific measurements in a cohort of HNSCC tumours from patients receiving ICI therapy. Our data revealed that markers involved with immune cell infiltration (CD8 T-cells) were not predictive of outcome to ICI therapy. Rather, a number of immune cell types were found to correlate with progressive disease. This study, to our knowledge, represents the first spatial analysis of HNSCC tumours.
1 The School of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia.
2 Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.