Sentinel lymph nodes set the stance of the immune system to a localized tumor and are often the first site to be colonized by neoplastic cells that metastasize. To investigate how the presence of neoplastic cells in sentinel lymph nodes may trigger pathways associated with metastatic progression, we analyzed the transcriptional profiles of archival sentinel node biopsy specimens obtained from melanoma patients. Biopsies from positive nodes were selected for comparable tumor infiltration, presence or absence of further regional node metastases, and relapse at 5-year follow-up. Unsupervised analysis of gene expression profiles revealed immune response to be a major gene ontogeny represented. Among genes upregulated in patients with progressing disease, the TNF receptor family member CD30/TNFRSF8 was confirmed in biopsy specimens from an independent group of patients. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed higher numbers of CD30+ lymphocytes in nodes from progressing patients compared with nonprogressing patients. Phenotypic profiling demonstrated that CD30+ lymphocytes comprised a broad population of suppressive or exhausted immune cells, such as CD4+Foxp3+ or PD1 + subpopulations and CD4-CD8- T cells. CD30+ T lymphocytes were increased in peripheral blood lymphocytes of melanoma patients at advanced disease stages. Our findings reinforce the concept that sentinel nodes act as pivotal sites for determining progression patterns, revealing that the presence of CD30+ lymphocytes at those sites associate positively with melanoma progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research