It is poorly understood how the tumor immune microenvironment influences disease recurrence in localized clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Here we performed whole-transcriptomic profiling of 236 tumors from patients assigned to the placebo-only arm of a randomized, adjuvant clinical trial for high-risk localized ccRCC. Unbiased pathway analysis identified myeloid-derived IL6 as a key mediator. Furthermore, a novel myeloid gene signature strongly correlated with disease recurrence and overall survival on uni- and multivariate analyses and is linked to TP53 inactivation across multiple data sets. Strikingly, effector T-cell gene signatures, infiltration patterns, and exhaustion markers were not associated with disease recurrence. Targeting immunosuppressive myeloid inflammation with an adenosine A2A receptor antagonist in a novel, immunocompetent, Tp53-inactivated mouse model significantly reduced metastatic development. Our findings suggest that myeloid inflammation promotes disease recurrence in ccRCC and is targetable as well as provide a potential biomarker-based framework for the design of future immuno-oncology trials in ccRCC.

Significance:

Improved understanding of factors that influence metastatic development in localized ccRCC is greatly needed to aid accurate prediction of disease recurrence, clinical decision-making, and future adjuvant clinical trial design. Our analysis implicates intratumoral myeloid inflammation as a key driver of metastasis in patients and a novel immunocompetent mouse model.

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