HLA class II expression on tumor cells and low numbers of tumor-associated macrophages predict clinical outcome in oropharyngeal cancer

Bianca Cioni, Ekaterina S. Jordanova, Erik Hooijberg, Rianne van der Linden, Renee X. de Menezes, Katherine Tan, Stefan Willems, Joris B. W. Elbers, Annegien Broeks, Andries M. Bergman, Charlotte L. Zuur, Jan Paul de Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is a highly immunogenic tumor and differences in tumor microenvironment might contribute to the improved survival of HPV-positive OPSCC patient. Methods: A comprehensive multivariate analysis with clinical and immune variables (human leukocyte antigen [HLA] I/II, programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), programmed death receptor 1 (PD1), T cells, and macrophages) was performed in 142 OPSCC patients. Results: We found an inverse correlation between the expression of HLA class II molecules on tumor cells and CD68+ CD163+ tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). High HLA-DP/DQ/DR expression and low number of TAMs were associated with longer disease-specific survival and disease-free survival (DFS). Furthermore, a new population of CD8+ FoxP3+ T cells was correlated with shorter DFS in multivariate analysis. Conclusions: \We identified new prognostic markers for patients with oropharyngeal cancer, which can be used for selecting patients that can benefit from immunotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-478
Number of pages16
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number2
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • HLA-II
  • HPV infection
  • TAMs
  • microenvironment
  • oropharyngeal cancer

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