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posted on 18.10.2021, 13:17 authored by Lirong Wu, Jun Zhu, Nils-Petter Rudqvist, James Welsh, Percy Lee, Zhongxing Liao, Ting Xu, Ming Jiang, Xiangzhi Zhu, Xuan Pan, Pansong Li, Zhipeng Zhou, Xia He, Rong Yin, Jifeng Feng

Radiotherapy is known to influence immune function, including T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. We evaluated the TCR repertoire before and after stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and explored correlations between TCR indexes and distant failure after SBRT. TCR repertoires were analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected before and after SBRT from 19 patients. TCR combinational diversity in V and J genes was assessed with multiplex PCR of genomic DNA from PBMCs and tested for associations with clinical response. All patients received definitive SBRT to a biologically effective dose of >=100 Gy. The number of unique TCR clones was decreased after SBRT versus before, but clonality and the Shannon Entropy did not change. Four patients (21%) developed distant metastases after SBRT (median 7 months); those patients had lower Shannon Entropy in post-SBRT samples than patients without metastasis. Patients with a low change in Shannon Entropy from before to after SBRT [(post-SBRT Shannon Entropy minus baseline Shannon)/(baseline Shannon) * 100] had poorer metastasis-free survival than those with high change in Shannon Entropy (P<0.001). Frequencies in V/J gene fragment expression in the TCR β chain were also different for patients with or without metastases (two V fragments in baseline samples and 2 J and 9 V fragments in post-treatment samples). This comprehensive analysis of immune status before and after SBRT showed that quantitative assessments of TCRs can help evaluate prognosis in early-stage NSCLC.

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