T-cell immunoglobulin mucin molecule-3 (Tim-3), transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), and chemokine-12 (CXCL12), tend to be highly expressed in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) tissues and could be correlated with a poorer prognosis, according to a recently published study in World Journal of Clinical Cases.

Despite the introduction of new treatment lines for DLBCL in the last decade, relapse rates are still over 30%, and patients who suffer from relapsing of the refractory disease have a grim prognosis. Therefore, there is high interest in establishing prognosis factors that guide clinical decision-making and allow clinicians to make timely treatment adjustments, Hao Wu of the Ningbo First Hospital in Province, China, and colleagues reported.

Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12 can participate in tumor immune escape, thus having an impact on the prognosis of several solid tumors. However, there is scarce literature regarding their prognostic value in DLBCL, the study team added.

Read more about DLBCL prognosis

The authors aimed to assess the correlation between Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12 and DLBCL prognosis in a group of 97 patients with DLBCL admitted from 2017 to 2019. Lymphoid tissues of the included patients were submitted to immunohistochemical examination to assess the expression of cytokines Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12. Patients were followed up for 3 years after immunohistochemical analysis.

Lymphoid tissue analysis revealed that Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12 had higher expression rates in tissues of patients with DLBCL than in tissues from healthy controls. Of the patients included in the study, approximately 65% experienced progression-free survival after 3 years, and patients with higher Tim-3 expression had shorter progression-free survival.

Univariate Cox analysis revealed that Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12 positivity were associated with poor prognosis. Other factors associated with poorer prognosis included bone marrow infiltration and IPI score.

Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that Tim-3 positivity, TGF-β positivity, and CXCL12 positivity were independent risk factors for shorter survival.

“The prognostic impact of Tim-3, TGF-β, and CXCL12 positivity suggested that all 3 could be effective predictors of prognosis and could be developed as novel clinical therapeutic targets,” the authors concluded.


Wu H, Sun HC, Ouyang GF. T-cell immunoglobulin mucin molecule-3, transformation growth factor β, and chemokine-12, and the prognostic status of diffuse large B-cell lymphomaWorld J Clin Cases. Published online November 16, 2022. doi: 10.12998/wjcco.v10.i32.11804