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Darb-Esfahani, Silvia; Kolaschinski, Ivonne; Trillsch, Fabian; Mahner, Sven; Concin, Nicole; Vergote, Ignace; Nieuwenhuysen, Els van; Achimas-Cadariu, Patriciu; Glajzer, Joanna; Woopen, Hannah; Wienert, Stefan; Taube, Eliane T.; Stanske, Mandy; Kulbe, Hagen; Denkert, Carsten; Sehouli, Jalid; Braicu, Elena I. (2018): Morphology and tumour‐infiltrating lymphocytes in high‐stage, high‐grade serous ovarian carcinoma correlated with long‐term survival. In: Histopathology, Vol. 73, No. 6: pp. 1002-1012
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Aims Advanced-stage ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) is a poor-prognosis cancer;however, a small and poorly characterised subset of patients shows long-term survival. We aimed to establish a cohort of HGSC long-term survivors for histopathological and molecular analysis. Methods and results Paraffin blocks from 151 patients with primary FIGO III/IV HGSC and progression-free survival (PFS) >5 years were collected within the Tumorbank Ovarian Cancer (TOC) Network;77 HGSC with a PFS <3 years were used as a control group. A standardised analysis of histological type and morphological features was performed. Ki67 index, tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and major histocompatibility complex expression (MHC1/2) were determined by immunohistochemistry. A total of 117 of 151 tumours (77.5%) in the long-term survivor group fulfilled the World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria of HGSC after review, and of these, 83 patients (70.9%) fulfilled all clinical criteria for inclusion into our cohort. Tumours of long-term survivors had significantly higher CD3(+) and CD8(+) TILs and were more frequently positive for MHC2 than controls (P = 0.004, P = 0.025, P = 0.048). However, there were also long-term survivors (up to 20%) with low TILs or low MHC expression. TILs and MHC had no impact on survival in long-term survivors. Morphological and Ki67 analysis revealed no differences between long-term survivors and controls. Conclusions HGSC from long-term survivors have higher-level T cell infiltration and antigen-presentation capacity;however, this is not a prerequisite for an excellent prognosis. Histopathological criteria are not capable to identify these patients. Further extensive clinical and molecular characterisation of this enigmatic subgroup is ongoing to understand the reasons of long-term survival in HGSC.