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Immune landscape in Burkitt lymphoma reveals M2-macrophage polarization and correlation between PD-L1 expression and non-canonical EBV latency program.

Granai, Massimo and Mundo, Lucia and Akarca, Ayse U. and Siciliano, Maria Chiara and Rizvi, Hasan and Mancini, Virginia and Onyango, Noel and Nyagol, Joshua and Abinya, Nicholas Othieno and Maha, Ibrahim and Margielewska, Sandra and Wi, Wenbin and Bibas, Michele and Piccaluga, Pier Paolo and Quintanilla-Martinez, Leticia and Fend, Falko and Lazzi, Stefano and Leoncini, Lorenzo and Marafioti, Teresa (2020) 'Immune landscape in Burkitt lymphoma reveals M2-macrophage polarization and correlation between PD-L1 expression and non-canonical EBV latency program.', Infectious agents and cancer., 15 (1). p. 28.


Background: The Tumor Microenviroment (TME) is a complex milieu that is increasingly recognized as a key factor in multiple stages of disease progression and responses to therapy as well as escape from immune surveillance. However, the precise contribution of specific immune effector and immune suppressor components of the TME in Burkitt lymphoma (BL) remains poorly understood. Methods: In this paper, we applied the computational algorithm CIBERSORT to Gene Expression Profiling (GEP) datasets of 40 BL samples to draw a map of immune and stromal components of TME. Furthermore, by multiple immunohistochemistry (IHC) and multispectral immunofluorescence (IF), we investigated the TME of additional series of 40 BL cases to evaluate the role of the Programmed Death-1 and Programmed Death Ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) immune checkpoint axis. Results: Our results indicate that M2 polarized macrophages are the most prominent TME component in BL. In addition, we investigated the correlation between PD-L1 and latent membrane protein-2A (LMP2A) expression on tumour cells, highlighting a subgroup of BL cases characterized by a non-canonical latency program of EBV with an activated PD-L1 pathway. Conclusion: In conclusion, our study analysed the TME in BL and identified a tolerogenic immune signature highlighting new potential therapeutic targets.

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Publisher statement:© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date accepted:20 April 2020
Date deposited:03 June 2020
Date of first online publication:06 May 2020
Date first made open access:03 June 2020

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