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Prognostic impact of CD8+ T cell distribution and its association with the HLA class I expression in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

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A lack of effective systemic therapy is one reason for the poor prognosis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Newly developed immune checkpoint inhibitors function by minimizing CD8+ T cell suppression to improve tumor-specific responses. This study aimed to examine the characteristics of CD8+ T cells in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.


Clinicopathological data, including the overall survival, of 69 cases of postoperative intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma were prospectively investigated. We then immunohistochemically stained for CD8, Foxp3, CD163, PD-L1, and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and counted the number of CD8+ T cells, Foxp3+ T cells, and CD163+ macrophages in different areas (outer border, interborder, and intratumor).


A significant difference was found in the 5-year overall survival between the CD8+ T cell high group (45.5%) and low group (24.7%) in the outer border area (p = 0.0103). Furthermore, the number of CD8+ T cells and the high expression of HLA class I were positively correlated (p = 0.0341).


The number of CD8+ T cells in the outer border area of the tumor correlated with the HLA class I expression of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and may therefore be a prognostic factor for patients with postoperative intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

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This work was supported in part by following funds; AMED under Grant numbers JP19fk0310111 and JP19fk0210041; MEXT KAKENHI Grant number JP19H03724; JSPS KAKENHI Grant numbers JP16K10561.

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Correspondence to Akinobu Taketomi.

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Yutaka Hatanaka. Honoraria: MSD, Pfizer. Research Funding: Esai, MSD, Taiho. Endowed chair: Taiho. Other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Asahi, Y., Hatanaka, K.C., Hatanaka, Y. et al. Prognostic impact of CD8+ T cell distribution and its association with the HLA class I expression in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Surg Today (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00595-020-01967-y

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  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • CD8+ T cell
  • HLA class I
  • PD-L1