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Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Expression in Cervical Cancer



The objectives were to study the pattern of expression of PD-L1 in patients with carcinoma cervix and find out any relation with the various patient- and disease-related factors like histology, FIGO stage, lymph node metastasis and response to treatment.


One hundred cervical cancer patients registered during 2018 who were suitable for radical treatment were identified. The paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed cervical biopsy specimens of these patients were collected. Immunohistochemical staining for PD-L1 expression was performed on the cervical biopsy material. The test was considered positive if 50 per cent or more tumour cells or less than 50 per cent with intense staining were present.


PD-L1 was positive in 25 of 99 (25.3%) cervical carcinoma samples. PD-L1 was positive in 18 of 81 (22%) squamous cell carcinomas, 7 of 16 (43.7%) adenocarcinomas and 0 out of 2 adenosquamous carcinomas. Twenty-nine per cent of patients with positive pelvic nodes expressed PD-L1 positivity. None of the patients with paraaortic node metastasis expressed PD-L1 positivity. No statistically significant associations were found between PD-LI positivity and menopausal status, haemoglobin level, histology, tumour size, FIGO stage, nodal involvement and response to treatment.


One out of four patients had evidence of PD-L1 positivity in their cervical cancer. No association was found between PD-L1 expression and various clinicopathological factors and response to treatment. But follow-up studies are needed to observe any effect on disease-free or overall survival. Validation of scoring of PD-L1 expression and uniform reporting is required.

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Acknowledgements of research support: Intramural funding from RCC, Thiruvananthapuram 695011, India.

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Correspondence to Francis V. James.

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Lathika, A.S., Lakshmi, S., Ramdas, P.T. et al. Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Expression in Cervical Cancer. Indian J Gynecol Oncolog 19, 86 (2021).

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  • Cancer cervix
  • PD-L1 protein
  • Human