Concurrent upregulation of immune checkpoint molecule genes in colorectal cancer

Hui Jae Bang, Joon Hyung Sohn, Soo Ki Kim, Cheol Su Kim, Mee Yon Cho, Bo Ra Kim, Sanghyun An, Kwangmin Kim, Youngwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A simultaneous gene expression pattern of immune checkpoint molecules might exist in colorectal cancer. This hypothesis has rarely been tested in human in vivo samples. Objective: We investigated the gene expression patterns of immune checkpoint molecules in human colorectal cancer tissues using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with a focus on concurrent gene expression. Results: We included 14 females and 16 males with a mean age was 68.5 years. The mean number of all immune checkpoint molecules did not differ significantly between normal and tumor tissues. Histological grade 3 tumors were more common in the PDCD1-expressing group [3 (25.0%) vs. 0 (0%) (p = 0.042)]. All six and four immune checkpoint molecules were expressed in eight and three PDCD1-positive patients, respectively. Specifically, CD274 was expressed in 11 of 12 PDCD1-positive patients, while LAG3 and IDO1 were expressed simultaneously in all patients expressing CD274. Conclusion: Colorectal cancers more commonly express multiple immune checkpoint molecules simultaneously than single molecules. This suggests that blocking multiple immune checkpoint pathways may serve as a potential strategy for immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Toxicology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF 2017R1D1A3B03032301).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to The Korean Society of Toxicogenomics and Toxicoproteomics.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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