Predominance of M1 subtype among tumor-associated macrophages in phenotypically aggressive sporadic vestibular schwannoma

Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Aditya Raghunathan, Colin L.W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Matthew L. Carlson, Ian F. Parney, Michael J. Link, Jamie J. van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been implicated as pathologic actors in phenotypically aggressive vestibular schwannoma (VS), potentially mediated via programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). The authors hypothesized that PD-L1 is a key regulator of the VS immune microenvironment. METHODS Forty-six consecutive, radiation-naïve, sporadic VSs that were subtotally resected at primary surgery were assessed via immunohistochemical analysis, including analysis of CD163 and PD-L1 expression. Pathologic data were correlated with clinical endpoints, including tumor control, facial nerve function, and complications. RESULTS Baseline parameters were equivalent between stable and progressive post–subtotal resection (STR) VS. CD163 percent positivity and M2 index were significantly increased among tumors that remained stable (34% vs 21%, p = 0.02; 1.13 vs 0.99, p = 0.0008), as well as patients with favorable House-Brackmann grade I or II facial nerve function (31% vs 13%, p = 0.04; 1.11 vs 0.97, p = 0.05). PD-L1 percent positivity was significantly associated with tumor progression (1% vs 11%, p = 0.01) and unfavorable House-Brackmann grade III–VI facial nerve function (1% vs 38%, p = 0.02). On multivariate analysis, PD-L1 was independently significant in all models (likelihood ratio 4.4, p = 0.04), while CD163 was dependent in all iterations. CONCLUSIONS In contrast to prior reports, in this study, the authors observed significantly increased levels of M1, CD163+ TAMs in association with VS that progressed after STR. Progressive tumors are characterized by increased PD-L1, potentially highlighting a mechanism of immune evasion that results in TAM deactivation, tumor growth, and further infiltration of anti-tumor immune cells. Targeting PD-1/PD-L1 may offer therapeutic promise, particularly in the setting of disease control after STR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1637-1645
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • CD163
  • Macrophage
  • Oncology
  • PD-L1
  • Subtotal resection
  • Tumor progression
  • Tumor recurrence
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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