Tumor-Infiltrating T Cell Receptor-Beta Repertoires are Linked to the Risk of Late Chemoradiation-Induced Temporal Lobe Necrosis in Locally Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

  • LiFu Wu
    Department of Radiation Oncology, Koo Foundation Sun-Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Taipei, Taiwan

    Medical Physics and Informatics Laboratory of Electronics Engineering, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
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  • Yih-Lin Chung
    Reprint requests to: Yih-Lin Chung, MD, MS, Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, No.125, Lih-Der Road, Pei-Tou district 112, Taipei, Taiwan. Tel: +886-2-28970011, ext. 1306
    Department of Radiation Oncology, Koo Foundation Sun-Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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Published:January 14, 2019DOI:


      Temporal lobe necrosis (TLN), a late complication of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT), causes permanent neurologic deficits. We aimed to investigate the risk factors for the development of CCRT-induced TLN in locally advanced NPC patients.

      Methods and Materials

      The incidence of CCRT-induced TLN was assessed in consecutive patients with NPC initially staged with T3-4N0-3M0 receiving curative intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and cisplatin-based chemotherapy with long-term follow-up. The TLN risk was evaluated with radiation dose-volume histograms (a dosimetric risk indicator of organ injury) and the dynamics of blood circulating neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios (a clinical indicator of systemic inflammation) by linear and logistic regression models. High-throughput unbiased T cell receptor-beta (TCRbeta) sequencing was performed to correlate the different TCRbeta repertoires of NPC-infiltrating lymphocytes (a biological factor of the immune microenvironment) with TLN incidence.


      In the era of modern IMRT-based CCRT, radiation doses of up to 74 Gy achieved local control rates of more than 90% in both T3 and T4 diseases but still induced a remarkably higher incidence of TLN in the T4 patients (30.14%) compared with the rare incidence of TLN observed in the T3 patients (2.78%) (P < .0001). We found that in the T4 NPC patients, univariate and multivariate analyses showed the radiation tolerance dose-volume effect was not an absolutely independent factor influencing TLN occurrence. However, increased TLN risk was observed in association with higher pre-CCRT baseline and post-CCRT neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios. There was also a link between intratumoral TCRbeta repertoire subtypes and TLN incidence. Combining the inherent TCRbeta genomic susceptibility with the clinical variable neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio better predicted the risk of TLN for T4 NPC patients after CCRT.


      The associations of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte repertoires and blood circulating neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios with TLN occurrence in T4 NPC patients suggest that the immune and inflammatory milieus play roles in the late brain damage caused by CCRT. Modulated or provoked by CCRT locally and systemically, the reciprocal interactions of neutrophils and lymphocytes in the intracranial NPC-associated immune microenvironment could be a key driver of chronic TLN pathogenesis.
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