Emerging evidence suggests the composition of the tumour microenvironment (TME) correlates with clinical outcome and that each tumour type has a unique TME including a variable population of inflammatory cells. We performed immunohistochemistry on 65 phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) tumour samples with 20 normal adrenal medulla samples for comparison. The immune cells assessed were macrophages, lymphocytes and neutrophils, and we compared the proportion of infiltration of these immune cells with clinical and histopathological factors. There was a higher proportion of immune cells in tumour tissue compared to non-neoplastic adrenal medulla tissue, with a predominance of macrophages. There was a higher proportion of M2:M1 macrophages and T-helper lymphocytes in aggressive tumours compared to indolent ones. For SDHB-associated tumours, there was a higher proportion of M2 macrophage infiltration, with higher M2:M1 in aggressive SDHB PPGLs compared to indolent tumours. These data demonstrate that immune cells do infiltrate the TME of PPGLs, confirming that PPGLs are immunologically active tumours. Differences in the TME of PPGLs were observed between aggressive and indolent tumours. These differences could potentially be exploited as an aid in predicting tumour behaviour.
N Tufton, R J Hearnden, D M Berney, W M Drake, L Parvanta, J P Chapple, and S A Akker
Umasuthan Srirangalingam, Bernard Khoo, Lisa Walker, Fiona MacDonald, Robert H Skelly, Emad George, David Spooner, Linda B Johnston, John P Monson, Ashley B Grossman, W M Drake, Scott A Akker, Patrick J Pollard, Nick Plowman, Norbert Avril, Daniel M Berney, Jacky M Burrin, Rodney H Reznek, V K Ajith Kumar, Eamonn R Maher, and Shern L Chew
Mutations in succinate dehydrogense-B (SDHB) and the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) genes result in an increased risk of developing chromaffin tumours via a common aetiological pathway. The aim of the present retrospective study was to compare the clinical phenotypes of disease in subjects developing chromaffin tumours as a result of SDHB mutations or VHL disease. Thirty-one subjects with chromaffin tumours were assessed; 16 subjects had SDHB gene mutations and 15 subjects had a diagnosis of VHL. VHL-related tumours were predominantly adrenal phaeochromocytomas (22/26; 84.6%), while SDHB-related tumours were predominantly extra-adrenal paragangliomas (19/25; 76%). Median age at onset of the first chromaffin tumour was similar in the two cohorts. Tumour size was significantly larger in the SDHB cohort in comparison with the VHL cohort (P=0.002). Multifocal disease was present in 9/15 (60%) of the VHL cohort (bilateral phaeochromocytomas) and only 3/16 (19%) of the SDHB cohort, while metastatic disease was found in 5/16 (31%) of the SDHB cohort but not in the VHL cohort to date. The frequency of symptoms, hypertension and the magnitude of catecholamine secretion appeared to be greater in the SDHB cohort. Renal cell carcinomas were a feature in 5/15 (33%) of the VHL cohort and 1/16 (6%) of the SDHB cohort. These data indicate that SDHB-related tumours are predominantly extra-adrenal in location and associated with higher catecholamine secretion and more malignant disease, in subjects who appear more symptomatic. VHL-related tumours tend to be adrenal phaeochromocytomas, frequently bilateral and associated with a milder phenotype.