Virchows Archiv

, Volume 462, Issue 1, pp 73–81 | Cite as

Tumoral indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase expression predicts poor outcome in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma

  • Jin Ye
  • Hui Liu
  • Yanming Hu
  • Peng Li
  • Gehua Zhang
  • Yuan Li
Original Article


The development of laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas (LSCC) is strongly influenced by the host immune system. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) can promote and maintain an immunosuppressive microenvironment which can impede the efficacy of anticancer responses. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the prognostic value of intratumoral IDO expression in LSCC. The expression of IDO protein was retrospectively assessed by immunohistochemistry in 187 LSCC patients. The potential association of tumor IDO expression with clinical parameters and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) was analyzed separately. Survival curves were estimated by the Kaplan–Meier method, and differences between groups were determined by log-rank test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the independent factors associated with survival. Based on the evaluation score, 90 carcinomas (48.1 %) were identified with high IDO expression and 97 carcinomas (51.9 %) showed low expression. Tumor IDO expression was not associated with clinical stage, presence of metastases, and other clinicopathological parameters. Also, high IDO expression was not correlated with tumor-infiltrating CD3+ and CD8+ TILs. Instead it was positively related with the density of FOXP3+ Tregs. Furthermore, multivariate analysis identified a significant association of overall survival and disease-free survival with tumor IDO status. IDO high expression represents a significant negative prognostic factor in patients with LSCC. Current results provide further support for using IDO as an immunotherapeutic target in LSCC. The precise role of tumoral IDO in human LSCC remains to be elucidated in the future.


Prognostic factor Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase Regulatory T lymphocytes Squamous cell carcinomas Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes 



Disease-free survival


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma


Forkhead box P3


High power field


Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas




Laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas


Overall survival


Oral squamous cell carcinomas


Partial laryngectomy




Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes


Total laryngectomy


Regulatory T lymphocytes



We gratefully thank Dr. Jinghui Hou and his colleagues (Department of Pathology, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University) for technical assistance in pathological evaluations.

Conflict of interest

All other authors indicated no potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Ye
    • 1
  • Hui Liu
    • 2
  • Yanming Hu
    • 3
  • Peng Li
    • 1
  • Gehua Zhang
    • 1
  • Yuan Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical CareThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryAnhui Provincial HospitalHefeiChina

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