Image_1_Overexpression of B7-H3 in α-SMA-Positive Fibroblasts Is Associated With Cancer Progression and Survival in Gastric Adenocarcinomas.TIF
Background: B7-H3 promotes tumor immune escape and is highly expressed in tumor tissues. Stromal cells in tumors, including fibroblasts, play an important role in this process; however, the role of B7-H3 in tumor fibroblasts has not been fully clarified.
Methods: We examined B7-H3, CD31, and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) protein expression in 268 gastric adenocarcinomas (GACs) by immunohistochemistry. The coexpression of B7-H3 with CD31 or α-SMA was examined using immunofluorescence double staining. Cytokine expression from fibroblasts treated with B7-H3 small interfering RNA (siRNA) was analyzed by a Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The transwell tests were conducted to assess the migration and invasion ability of fibroblasts. The overall survival was analyzed by a Kaplan-Meier analysis. Associations between categorical variables were assessed using the Pearson's Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test.
Results: GAC patients with B7-H3 expression showed significantly poorer survival (P = 0.012). The overall survival of the group with high B7-H3 expression was significantly worse than the group with low B7-H3 expression in both tumor cells and in stromal cells (P = 0.007 and P = 0.048, respectively). B7-H3 expression correlated with many clinicopathological data, including tumor stage, tumor depth, lymph node involvement, and survival. Immunofluorescence staining showed that B7-H3 was expressed in tumor cells and α-SMA-positive fibroblasts. Remarkably, high expression of α-SMA was associated with a poor prognosis (P = 0.007), and the prognoses of patients with high stromal expression of B7-H3 and α-SMA were significantly worse than that of other combination types (P = 0.001). Additionally, the absence of B7-H3 led to decreased secretion of cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as well as a decline in migration and invasion ability in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs).
Conclusions: Patients with high B7-H3 expression either in tumor cells or in stromal cells had significantly poorer overall survival. Stromal B7-H3 expression was mostly detected in α-SMA-positive CAFs. GAC patients with both stromal B7-H3-high and α-SMA-high expression had significantly poorer overall survival, suggesting that stromal B7-H3 and α-SMA expression status can serve as an indicator of poor prognosis for GAC patients.
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