Highly Multiplexed Phenotyping of Immunoregulatory Proteins in the Tumor Microenvironment by CODEX Tissue Imaging.

Phillips D, Schürch CM, Khodadoust MS, Kim YH, Nolan G, Jiang S.


Immunotherapies are revolutionizing cancer treatment by boosting the natural ability of the immune system. In addition to antibodies against traditional checkpoint molecules or their ligands (i.e., CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1), therapies targeting molecules such as ICOS, IDO-1, LAG-3, OX40, TIM-3, and VISTA are currently in clinical trials. To better inform clinical care and the design of therapeutic combination strategies, the co-expression of immunoregulatory proteins on individual immune cells within the tumor microenvironment must be robustly characterized. Highly multiplexed tissue imaging platforms, such as CO-Detection by indEXing (CODEX), are primed to meet this need by enabling >50 markers to be simultaneously analyzed in single-cells on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections. Assembly and validation of antibody panels is particularly challenging, with respect to the specificity of antigen detection and robustness of signal over background. Herein, we report the design, development, optimization, and application of a 56-marker CODEX antibody panel to eight cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) patient samples. This panel is comprised of structural, tumor, and immune cell markers, including eight immunoregulatory proteins that are approved or currently undergoing clinical trials as immunotherapy targets. Here we provide a resource to enable extensive high-dimensional, spatially resolved characterization of the tissue microenvironment across tumor types and imaging modalities. This framework provides researchers with a readily applicable blueprint to study tumor immunology, tissue architecture, and enable mechanistic insights into immunotherapeutic targets.

Copyright © 2021 Phillips, Schürch, Khodadoust, Kim, Nolan and Jiang.