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Albertsmeier, Markus; Altendorf-Hofmann, Annelore; Lindner, Lars H.; Issels, Rolf D.; Kampmann, Eric; Duerr, Hans-Roland; Angele, Martin K.; Klauschen, Frederick; Werner, Jens; Jungbluth, Achim A. and Knoesel, Thomas (2022): VISTA in Soft Tissue Sarcomas: A Perspective for Immunotherapy? In: Cancers, Vol. 14, No. 4, 1006

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Simple Summary V domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) has recently been described as a protein expressed on immune cells and tumour cells and a possible target for immunotherapy. We show for the first time that VISTA is broadly expressed across subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma. We found VISTA related to other immunopathological parameters such as tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and observed improved survival in patients with non-T-cell-inflamed tumours expressing VISTA. Our research supports the notion of VISTA as a potential target for immunotherapy in soft tissue sarcoma. (1) Background: V domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) plays a critical role in antitumor immunity and may be a valuable target in cancer immunotherapy. To date, it has never been studied in a large and well-characterised cohort of soft tissue sarcomas (STS). (2) Methods: Using immunohistochemistry, we examined VISTA expression in tumour tissues of 213 high-risk STS. We then analysed whether VISTA was associated with other clinicopathological parameters, including tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) counts, programmed death receptor-1 (PD1), programmed death ligand-1 (PDL1), CD3, grading, and long-term survival. (3) Results: We observed VISTA expression in 96 (45%) of 213 specimens with distinct patterns ranging from 26 to 63% for histological subtypes. VISTA was associated with higher grade (G3 vs. G2, p = 0.019), higher TIL counts (p = 0.033), expression of PD1 (p = 0.046), PDL1 (p = 0.031), and CD3+ (p = 0.023). In patients without CD3(+) TILs, 10-year survival was higher when VISTA was expressed compared to when there was no VISTA expression (p = 0.013). In a multivariate analysis, VISTA expression was independently associated with prolonged survival (p = 0.043). (4) Conclusions: VISTA is expressed in different STS subtypes and is associated with increased TILs, PD-1, PD-L1, and CD3 expression. Patients with VISTA(+) tumours show improved survival. These results may help define future immunotherapeutic approaches in STS.

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