Authors: Yvonne M. Hoeijmakers, Mark A.J. Gorris, Fred C.G.J. Sweep, Johan Bulten, Yalck K. Eysbouts, Leon F.A.G. Massuger, Petronella B. Ottevanger, Jolanda I.J.M. de Vries
Issue: Gynecol Oncol. 2021 Feb;160(2):450-456.
Objective: In 15% of patients with complete hydatidiform mole (CHM), disease progresses to post-molar gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) after curettage. Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are essential in overcoming disease in many tumors. Infiltrating lymphocyte composition and density may influence trophoblast regression and development of post-molar GTN. We analyzed immune cell composition and density in curettaged endometrium of patients with CHM which spontaneously regressed, and of patients with CHM which progressed to post-molar GTN.
Methods: Sixteen patients with CHM and spontaneous regression, and 16 patients with CHM which progressed to post-molar GTN were selected. Immune cell composition and density of natural killer (NK) cells, natural killer T (NKT)-like cells, Cytotoxic T cells, T-Regulatory and T-Helper cells, were determined by multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC).
Results: Curettaged endometrium of patients with CHM and spontaneous regression contained a slightly higher number of immune cells compared to patients with CHM which progressed to post-molar GTN. NKT-like cell density was significantly higher in patients with spontaneous regression compared to patients with CHM which progressed to post-molar GTN (483 ± 296 vs.295 ± 143 (mean ± SD), p = 0.03) respectively. NKT-like cell density in the spontaneous regression group was split in ‘high’ and ‘low’ (i.e. above and below the median number of NKT-like cells). In patients with high NKT-like cell density, hCG normalized earlier than in patients with low NKT-like cell density (9.5 weeks, (range 3.7-14) vs. 12.9 weeks, (range 8.6-17.9), p = 0.05).
Conclusion: A high number of NKT-like cells in the endometrium of CHMs may contribute to spontaneous regression of molar trophoblast cells.
Keywords: Complete hydatidiform mole; Multiplex immunohistochemistry; Natural killer t-like cells; Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.