The concentration of programmed cell death-ligand 1 in the peripheral blood is a useful biomarker for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Abstract

Background

We determined the serum concentrations of Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligands (PD-L1 and PD-L2) in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).

Methods

Blood samples were collected from 85 patients with histologically proved ESCC. Serum levels of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 were measured using enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Correlations between serum PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 concentration and tumor depth, number of lymph node metastases, organ metastasis status, or disease stage were assessed and five-year survival rates according to clinicopathological characteristics were calculated.

Results

The concentration of PD-1 was not differed according to tumor progression. On the other hand, the average concentration of PD-L1 in patients with T3/T4 disease was 15.6 (12.2–18.3) pg/mL (25–75%), and this was significantly higher than that in patients with Tis/T1/T2 disease (p = 0.020). Similarly, PD-L1 levels were significantly higher in patients with positive lymph nodes than in cases with negative lymph node involvement (p = 0.006) and were higher in patients with organ metastasis (p = 0.123) and in more advanced stage (p = 0.006). Similar tendency was observed regarding PD-L2 concentrations. PD-L2 concentration was higher in T3, T4 cases (p = 0.008), in LN positive cases (p = 0.032), and in more advanced stage (p = 0.024).

Conclusion

Our data showed that a concentration of PD-L1 in peripheral blood was high in advanced cancer and high concentration of PD-L1 predicted disease progression and also poor survival in patients with ESCC.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant no. 15K06867) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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Correspondence to Yasunori Akutsu.

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Ethical Statement

The participants in this study provided informed consent, and the study design was approved by the appropriate ethics review boards.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest to declare. This manuscript has been checked by an English language editing service.

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Akutsu, Y., Murakami, K., Kano, M. et al. The concentration of programmed cell death-ligand 1 in the peripheral blood is a useful biomarker for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Esophagus 15, 103–108 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10388-018-0604-1

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Keywords

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Programmed cell death-1
  • Programmed cell death ligand
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay