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Loss of Lymphotoxin Alpha-Expressing Memory B Cells Correlates with Metastasis of Human Primary Melanoma

Authors: Werner, Franziska; Wagner, Christine; Simon, Martin; Glatz, Katharina; Mertz, Kirsten D.; Läubli, Heinz; Richtig, Erika; Griss, Johannes; Wagner, Stephan N.

Online: https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4418/11/7/1238

Issue: Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Jul 12;11(7):1238.


Activated antigen-experienced B cells play an unexpected complex role in anti-tumor immunity in human melanoma patients. However, correlative studies between B cell infiltration and tumor progression are limited by the lack of distinction between functional B cell subtypes. In this study, we examined a series of 59 primary and metastatic human cutaneous melanoma specimens with B cell infiltration. Using seven-color multiplex immunohistochemistry and automated tissue imaging and analysis, we analyzed the spatiotemporal dynamics of three major antigen-experienced B cell subpopulations expressing lymphotoxin alpha (LTA/TNFSF1) or interleukin-10 (IL-10) outside tertiary lymphoid structures. The expression of both LTA and IL-10 was not restricted to a particular B cell subtype. In primary melanomas, these cells were predominantly found at the invasive tumor-stroma front and, in metastatic melanomas, they were also found in the intratumoral stroma. In primary melanomas, decreased densities of LTA+ memory-like and, to a lesser extent, activated B cells were associated with metastasis. Compared with metastatic primary tumors, B cell infiltrates in melanoma metastases were enriched in both LTA+ memory-like and LTA+ activated B cells, but not in any of the IL-10+ B cell subpopulations. Melanoma disease progression shows distinct dynamics of functional B cell subpopulations, with the regulation of LTA+ B cell numbers being more significant than IL-10+ B cell subpopulations.