The TSA Opal multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) protocol (PerkinElmer) has been used to characterize immune infiltration in human cancers. This technique allows multiple biomarkers to be simultaneously stained in a single tissue section, which helps to elucidate the spatial relationship among individual cell types. We developed and optimized two improved mIHC protocols for a 7-color panel containing 6 biomarkers (CD3, CD8, CD163, PD-L1, FoxP3, and cytokeratin (CK)) and DAPI. The only difference between these two protocols was the staining sequence of those 6 biomarkers as the first sequence is PD-L1/CD163/CD8/CK/CD3/FoxP3/DAPI and the second sequence is FoxP3/CD163/CD8/CK/CD3/PD-L1/DAPI. By comparing PD-L1/FoxP3 staining in mIHC and singleplex PD-L1/FoxP3 staining on the adjacent slide, we demonstrated that the staining sequence does not affect the staining intensity of individual biomarkers as long as a proper antigen retrieval method was used. Our study suggests that use of an antigen retrieval buffer with higher pH value (such as Tris-EDTA pH9.0) than that of the stripping buffers (such as citrate buffer pH6.0) is helpful when using this advanced mIHC method to develop panels with multiple biomarkers. Otherwise, individual biomarkers may exhibit different intensities when the staining sequence is changed. By using this protocol, we characterized immune infiltration and PD-L1 expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), breast cancer (BCa), and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens. We observed a statistically significant increase in CD3+ cell populations within the stroma of NSCLC as compared to BCa and increased PD-L1+ tumor cells in HNSCC as opposed to BCa.
About The Expert
William L Redmond