18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography correlates with tumor immunometabolic phenotypes in resected lung cancer

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5 Scopus citations


Enhanced tumor glycolytic activity is a mechanism by which tumors induce an immunosuppressive environment to resist adoptive T cell therapy; therefore, methods of assessing intratumoral glycolytic activity are of considerable clinical interest. In this study, we characterized the relationships among tumor 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) retention, tumor metabolic and immune phenotypes, and survival in patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We retrospectively analyzed tumor preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) 18F-FDG uptake in 59 resected NSCLCs and investigated correlations between PET parameters (SUVMax, SUVTotal, SUVMean, TLG), tumor expression of glycolysis- and immune-related genes, and tumor-associated immune cell densities that were quantified by immunohistochemistry. Tumor glycolysis-associated immune gene signatures were analyzed for associations with survival outcomes. We found that each 18F-FDG PET parameter was positively correlated with tumor expression of glycolysis-related genes. Elevated 18F-FDG SUVMax was more discriminatory of glycolysis-associated changes in tumor immune phenotypes than other 18F-FDG PET parameters. Increased SUVMax was associated with multiple immune factors characteristic of an immunosuppressive and poorly immune infiltrated tumor microenvironment, including elevated PD-L1 expression, reduced CD57+ cell density, and increased T cell exhaustion gene signature. Elevated SUVMax identified immune-related transcriptomic signatures that were associated with enhanced tumor glycolytic gene expression and poor clinical outcomes. Our results suggest that 18F-FDG SUVMax has potential value as a noninvasive, clinical indicator of tumor immunometabolic phenotypes in patients with resectable NSCLC and warrants investigation as a potential predictor of therapeutic response to immune-based treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1534
Number of pages16
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Positron emission tomography
  • Resected non-small cell lung cancer
  • Tumor glycolysis
  • Tumor immunometabolic phenotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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