Distinguishing melanophages from tumor in melanoma patients treated with talimogene laherparepvec

Claire Audrey-Bayan, Megan H. Trager, Robyn D. Gartrell-Corrado, Emanuelle M. Rizk, Jaya Pradhan, Andrew M. Silverman, Adriana Lopez, Douglas K. Marks, George Niedt, Larisa J. Geskin, Yvonne M. Saenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Response to talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) is difficult to assess as pigmented macrophages that have ingested melanoma cells ('melanophages') persist after injection, mimicking melanoma. We used quantitative immunofluorescence (qIF) to (1) distinguish melanophages from melanoma in biopsies from two patients treated with T-Vec and (2) evaluate the tumor microenvironment pretreatment and posttreatment. Tissues were stained with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, cluster of differentiation (CD) 3, CD8, CD68, human leukocyte antigen-DR isotype (HLA-DR), and SRY-Box Transcription Factor 10 (SOX10), and multispectral images were analyzed. Post-T-Vec samples showed melanophages with cytoplasmic costaining of CD68, SOX10, and HLA-DR, without nuclear SOX10 expression. qIF revealed a dense immune infiltrate of CD3+, CD8+, and CD68+cells in post-T-Vec samples. Melanophages from tumors post-T-Vec stain the nuclear melanoma marker SOX10 in their cytoplasms as compared to melanoma cells that stain nuclear SOX10. This novel finding highlights the phagocytosis of melanoma cell components by macrophages after treatment with T-Vec. qIF may assist pathologists in determining whether lesions treated with immunotherapy contain residual viable melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • immunotherapy
  • melanoma
  • oncolytic virus


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