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In Journal of pathology informatics ; h5-index 23.0

Background : High tumor mutation burden (TMB-H) could result in an increased number of neoepitopes from somatic mutations expressed by a patient's own tumor cell which can be recognized and targeted by neighboring tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Deeper understanding of spatial heterogeneity and organization of tumor cells and their neighboring immune infiltrates within tumors could provide new insights into tumor progression and treatment response.

Methods : Here we first developed computational approaches using whole slide images (WSIs) to predict bladder cancer patients' TMB status and TILs across tumor regions, and then investigate spatial heterogeneity and organization of regions harboring TMB-H tumor cells and TILs within tumors, as well as their prognostic utility. Results: In experiments using WSIs from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) bladder cancer (BLCA), our findings show that computational pathology can reliably predict patient-level TMB status and delineate spatial TMB heterogeneity and co-organization with TILs. TMB-H patients with low spatial heterogeneity enriched with high TILs show improved overall survival.

Conclusions : Computational approaches using WSIs have the potential to provide rapid and cost-effective TMB testing and TILs detection. Survival analysis illuminates potential clinical utility of spatial heterogeneity and co-organization of TMB and TILs as a prognostic biomarker in BLCA which warrants further validation in future studies.

Xu Hongming, Clemenceau Jean René, Park Sunho, Choi Jinhwan, Lee Sung Hak, Hwang Tae Hyun


BLCA, Urothelial Bladder Carcinoma, Bladder cancer, Computational pathology, Spatial Heterogeneity, Survival prognosis, TCGA, The Cancer Genome Atlas Project, TIL, Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte, TMB, Tumor Mutation Burden, Tumor Immune Microenvironment, Tumor mutation burden prediction, WSI, Whole Slide Image