3 years ago

Intratumoural PD-L1 expression is associated with worse survival of patients with Epstein–Barr virus-associated gastric cancer

Oh Kyoung Kwon, Byung Woog Kang, Wansik Yu, Seung Soo Lee, Seong Woo Jeon, Ho Young Chung, Jong Gwang Kim, An Na Seo, Hyojeung Kang, Ki Bum Park, Han Ik Bae


This study investigated the clinical relevance and prognostic impact of the overall expression of programmed cell death protein ligand-1 (PD-L1) and programmed cell death protein ligand-2 (PD-L2), in patients with Epstein–Barr virus-associated gastric cancer (EBVaGC).


After reviewing 1318 consecutive cases of surgically resected or endoscopic submucosal dissected gastric cancers, the expression status of PD-L1 and PD-L2 in 120 patients with EBVaGC identified by EBV-encoded RNA in situ hybridisation was retrospectively analysed using immunohistochemistry (IHC). For each IHC marker, positivity was separately in intraepithelial tumour cells (iTu-) and immune cells in the tumour stroma area (str-).


Among 116 eligible patients, 57 (49.1%) and 66 patients (56.9%) were determined as iTu-PD-L1-positive and str-PD-L1-positive, respectively, whereas 23 (21.6%) and 45 patients (38.8%) were determined as iTu-PD-L2 positive and str-PD-L2 positive, respectively. Intraepithelial tumour cell PD-L1 positivity was found to be significantly associated with lymph node (LN) metastasis (P=0.012) and a poor disease-free survival (DFS) (P=0.032), yet not overall survival (P=0.482). In a multivariate analysis, iTu-PD-L1 positivity was independently associated with a poor DFS (P=0.006, hazard ratio=12.085). In contrast, str-PD-L2-positivity was related to a lower T category (P=0.003), absence of LN metastasis (P=0.032) and perineural invasion (P=0.028). Intraepithelial tumour cell and str-PD-L2 positivity showed a trend towards an improved DFS, although not significant (P=0.060 and P=0.073, respectively).


Intraepithelial tumour cells PD-L1 expression can be used to predict a poor outcome in patients with EBVaGC and can represent a rational approach for PD-1/PD-L pathway-targeted immunotherapy.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/bjc2017369

DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.369

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