Clinicopathological features of programmed death ligand 1 expression with tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte, mismatch repair, and Epstein–Barr virus status in a large cohort of gastric cancer patients
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- Kawazoe, A., Kuwata, T., Kuboki, Y. et al. Gastric Cancer (2017) 20: 407. doi:10.1007/s10120-016-0631-3
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Antibodies against programmed death 1 (PD-1) and its ligand programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) have recently demonstrated promising results in gastric cancer (GC). PD-L1 expression, the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency have been proposed as predictive biomarkers for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical relevance of PD-L1 expression with TIL, MMR, and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) status in GC.
We performed a tissue microarray analysis in 487 advanced GC patients who underwent gastrectomy. PD-L1 expression on tumor cells (TCs) and tumor-infiltrating immune cells (TIICs), the densities of TILs, and MMR status were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. EBV was detected by in situ hybridization.
PD-L1 expression on TCs and TIICs, MMR deficiency, and EBV positivity were identified in 22.8, 61.4, 5.1, and 5.1 % cases respectively. PD-L1 expression was more frequently observed in the elderly (TCs P = 0.002), in males (TCs P = 0.029; TIICs P = 0.043), in patients with poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma with solid-type histological features (TCs P < 0.001; TIICs P < 0.001), in patients with MMR deficiency (TCs P < 0.001; TIICs P < 0.001), and in patients with EBV positivity (TCs P = 0.001; TIICs P = 0.050). Strong association was observed between PD-L1 expression and high densities of CD3-positive, CD8-positive, or forkhead box P3 positive TILs (TCs P < 0.001; TIICs P < 0.001). Neither PD-L1 expression on TCs nor that on TIICs was an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis.
In GC, PD-L1 expression was associated with distinct clinicopathological features, including high densities of TILs, MMR deficiency, and EBV positivity, but was not a prognostic factor.