Core Spotlight: Tissue Microarray and Imaging

July 2018 

In this DF/HCC eNews Spotlight Edition, we present the DF/HCC Tissue Microarray and Imaging Core which is dedicated to the construction of high-quality tissue microarrays (TMAs), imaging and analysis services for cancer research. The Core generates microarrays by inserting up to 384 0.6 mm diameter tissue samples into a single standard paraffin block, allowing hundreds of tumor tissue samples to be evaluated on a single slide. 

The Aperio tissue imaging technology provides sensitive, high-throughput quantification of biomarkers in cancer specimens. Access to a web-based digital pathology information management system (Spectrum), allows storage, remote viewing, and evaluation of archived digitized slide images. Customers may also request access to a web-based image analysis algorithms that permit high-throughput automated scoring of biomarker stains performed on TMAs or whole tissue sections

Recent Updates

The core recently invested in an automated New TMA Master System from Richard Allen/ Thermo Fisher which has significantly reduced the turn-around time for custom array construction. 

Key Services

Project Highlights

Aspirin Use and Colorectal Cancer Survival According to Tumor CD274 (Programmed Cell Death 1 Ligand 1) Expression Status.

PI: Shuji OginoDFCI

Blockade of the programmed cell death 1 (PDCD1, PD-1) immune checkpoint pathway can improve clinical outcomes in various malignancies. Evidence suggests that aspirin (a widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) not only prolongs colorectal cancer survival, but can also activate T cell-mediated antitumor immunity and synergize with immunotherapy through inhibition of prostaglandin E2 production. The investigators hypothesized that the survival benefit associated with aspirin might be stronger in colorectal carcinoma with a lower CD274 (PDCD1 ligand 1, PD-L1) expression level that resulted in lower signaling of the immune checkpoint pathway. Using data from 617 patients with rectal and colon cancer in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, they examined the association of postdiagnosis aspirin use with patient survival in strata of tumor CD274 expression status measured by immunohistochemistry. Results showed that the association of postdiagnosis aspirin use with colorectal cancer-specific survival differed by CD274 expression status ( Pinteraction < .001); compared with aspirin nonusers; multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for regular aspirin users were 0.16 (95% CI, 0.06 to 0.41) in patients with low CD274 and 1.01 (95% CI, 0.61 to 1.67) in patients with high CD274. In conclusion, the association of aspirin use with colorectal cancer survival is stronger in patients with CD274-low tumors than CD274-high tumors. These findings suggest a differential antitumor effect of aspirin according to immune checkpoint status.

Core ContributionThe Core constructed the high-density colon cancer TMAs (containing tissue cores from 617 tumors) that were immunostained for PD-L1. 

Publication: Hamada T, Cao Y, Qian ZR, Masugi Y, Nowak JA, Yang J, Song M, Mima K, Kosumi K, Liu L, Shi Y, da Silva A, Gu M, Li W, Keum N, Zhang X, Wu K, Meyerhardt JA, Giovannucci EL, Giannakis M, Rodig SJ, Freeman GJ, Nevo D, Wang M, Chan AT, Fuchs CS, Nishihara R, Ogino S.  J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jun 1;35(16):1836-1844. 

Phase 1 safety, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor dinaciclib administered every three weeks in patients with advanced malignancies.

PI: Geoffrey ShapiroDFCI

Dinaciclib is a potent inhibitor of cell cycle and transcriptional cyclin-dependent kinases. In this Phase 1 study, the investigators evaluated the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of various dosing schedules of dinaciclib in advanced solid tumor patients and assessed pharmacodynamic and preliminary anti-tumour activity. Results showed that dose-limiting toxicities included pancytopenia, neutropenic fever, elevated transaminases, hyperuricemia and hypotension. Pharmacokinetics demonstrated rapid distribution and a short plasma half-life. Dinaciclib suppressed proliferation of stimulated lymphocytes. In skin and tumor biopsies, dinaciclib reduced Rbphosphorylation at CDK2 phospho-sites and modulated expression of cyclin D1 and p53, suggestive of CDK9 inhibition. Eight patients had prolonged stable disease and received between 6 and 30 cycles. Early metabolic responses occurred.

Core ContributionThe Core scanned tissue slides immunostained for various markers (e.g. phospho-Rb, cyclin D1, p53) using the Aperio ScanScope System. Images were then visualized and digitally annotated (as regions of interest, ROIs) using ImageScope software (version, Aperio Technology). ROIs were analyzed using image analysis algorithms (Aperio Technology). 

Publication: Mita MM, Mita AC, Moseley JL, Poon J, Small KA, Jou YM, Kirschmeier P, Zhang D, Zhu Y, Statkevich P, Sankhala KK, Sarantopoulos J, Cleary JM, Chirieac LR, Rodig SJ, Bannerji R, Shapiro GI.Br J Cancer. 2017;117(9):1258-1268.