Patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) with higher levels of CD8+T cell tissue infiltration tend to have better overall survival (OS) than patients with lower levels, according to a study published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology.

Higher levels of infiltrating CD8+T cells were associated with a significantly better OS after surgery than lower levels (P=.0138; hazard ratio (HR) .401) for patients with iCCA in the study. Levels of infiltrating CD103+T cells were not significantly associated with OS rates, however (P=.7866).

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When observing the effect of both CD8+T cells and CD103+T cells, patients who were categorized as having low levels of both cell types (CD8lowCD103low) had poorer OS compared to those with high expression of both (CD8highCD103high; P=.0849) and high expression of CD103 but low expression of CD8 (CD8lowCD103high; P =.0565).

Patients with iCCA with tissue-resident CD103+CD8+T cells had a trend towards longer survival compared to those with lower levels of the tissue-resident cells (P =.0582; HR 0.542). Patients with a higher ratio of CD103+CD8+T cells compared to total CD8+T cells also had a trend toward better OS; however, it did not reach significance (P =.1091; HR .472).

Levels of tissue-resident CD103+CD8+T cells were negatively associated with the size of tumors (P <.001). Advanced pathological stage of the iCCA was also negatively correlated with a higher ratio of  CD103+CD8+T cells to total CD8+T cells (P =.001).

The study also investigated the role of infiltrating T cells on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and found similar correlations to those in iCCA, however. 

“The CD103+ tumor-specific T cells signified an important prognostic marker with improved OS, and the evaluation of the tissue-resident CD103+CD8+T cells might help assess the status of [tumor microenvironment] in HCC and [iCCA],” the authors wrote.

Tissue microarrays (TMAs) for human HCC and iCCA were utilized for the study. The iCCA TMA contained samples from 155 patients, while the HCC TMA contained 94 patient samples. Due to heat-induced antigen retrieval, 6 iCCA tissue samples were not used in the final analysis, however.


Chen L, Huang H, Huang Z, et al. Prognostic values of tissue-resident CD8+T cells in human hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. World J Surg Oncol. Published online April 6, 2023. doi:10.1186/s12957-023-03009-6