Inflammatory cells infiltrate and angiogenesis in locally advanced and metastatic cholangiocarcinoma

Roberto Tamma, Tiziana Annese, Simona Ruggieri, Oronzo Brunetti, Vito Longo, Eliano Cascardi, Mauro Giuseppe Mastropasqua, Eugenio Maiorano, Nicola Silvestris, Domenico Ribatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is the second most common subtype of primary hepatobiliary cancer and one of the most aggressive characterized by an extremely poor prognosis with limited treatment options. Inflammatory cells in tumour microenvironment support tumour growth in term of progression, angiogenesis and metastatic capacity. A link between inflammation and biliary carcinogenesis has been previously observed but the mechanisms involved remain to be determined. Methods: We investigated the microvascular density (MVD) and inflammatory cells in tissue samples from 40 patients with CCA with locally advanced CCA and metastatic CCA by means of immunohistochemical analysis of macrophages, mast cells, B and T lymphocytes and we correlated inflammatory infiltrate with MVD. Results: We observed significant decrease in the levels of CD31 positive vessels, and CD8, CD4, CD68 and tryptase-positive cells in metastatic lesions as compared to the localized ones. A negative correlation between CD31 and CD8 and CD31 and CD4 in localized CCA samples was found as assessed by Spearman correlation analysis. Conclusions: In locally advanced CCA patients, there is a significant increase of immune cell infiltrate constituted by CD8 + and CD4 + lymphocytes, macrophages and mast cells as compared to the metastatic ones. This alteration in the tumour microenvironment infiltrate is related to a significant increased MVD in localized CCA lesions compared with the metastatic ones. Moreover, we observed a negative correlation between MVD and CD8 + , CD4 + cells in localized CCA patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13087
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • angiogenesis
  • cholangiocarcinoma
  • lymphocytes
  • macrophages
  • mast cells
  • tumour progression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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