PD-L1 expression on immune cells, but not on tumor cells, is a favorable prognostic factor for head and neck cancer patients

Hye Ryun Kim, Sang-Jun Ha, Min Hee Hong, Su Jin Heo, Yoonwoo Koh, Eun Chang Choi, Eunkyung Kim, Kyoung Ho Pyo, Inkyung Jung, Daekwan Seo, Jaewoo Choi, ByoungChul Cho, SunOch Yoon

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Abstract

To investigate the expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and immune checkpoints and their prognostic value for resected head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). PD-L1 expression on tumor cells (TC) and tumor-infiltrating immune cells (IC), abundance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and expression of the immune checkpoints were investigated in 402 HNSCC patients. PD-L1 expression on TC and IC was categorized into four groups according to the percentage of PD-L1-positive cells. PD-L1 positivity was defined as ≥5% of cells based on immunohistochemistry. High PD-L1 expression on IC, but not TC, was an independent favorable prognostic factor for RFS and OS adjusted for age, gender, smoking, stage, and HPV. High frequencies of CD3 + or CD8 + TILs, Foxp3 + T reg s, and PD-1 + TILs were strongly associated with favorable prognosis. PD-L1 was exclusively expressed on either TC or IC. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated that IC3 expressed higher levels of the effector T cell markers than TC3, suggesting that PD-L1 expression is regulated via an adaptive IFNγ-mediated mechanism. High PD-L1 expression on IC, but not TC, and high abundance of PD-1 + T cells and Foxp3 + T reg s are favorable prognostic factors for resected HNSCC. This study highlights the importance of comprehensive assessment of both TC and IC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36956
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 14

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Head and Neck Neoplasms
Ligands
Neoplasms
Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes
Squamous Cell Neoplasms
Head
T-Lymphocytes
Gene Expression Profiling
Smoking
Immunohistochemistry

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Kim, Hye Ryun ; Ha, Sang-Jun ; Hong, Min Hee ; Heo, Su Jin ; Koh, Yoonwoo ; Choi, Eun Chang ; Kim, Eunkyung ; Pyo, Kyoung Ho ; Jung, Inkyung ; Seo, Daekwan ; Choi, Jaewoo ; Cho, ByoungChul ; Yoon, SunOch. / PD-L1 expression on immune cells, but not on tumor cells, is a favorable prognostic factor for head and neck cancer patients. In: Scientific reports. 2016 ; Vol. 6.
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abstract = "To investigate the expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and immune checkpoints and their prognostic value for resected head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC). PD-L1 expression on tumor cells (TC) and tumor-infiltrating immune cells (IC), abundance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and expression of the immune checkpoints were investigated in 402 HNSCC patients. PD-L1 expression on TC and IC was categorized into four groups according to the percentage of PD-L1-positive cells. PD-L1 positivity was defined as ≥5{\%} of cells based on immunohistochemistry. High PD-L1 expression on IC, but not TC, was an independent favorable prognostic factor for RFS and OS adjusted for age, gender, smoking, stage, and HPV. High frequencies of CD3 + or CD8 + TILs, Foxp3 + T reg s, and PD-1 + TILs were strongly associated with favorable prognosis. PD-L1 was exclusively expressed on either TC or IC. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated that IC3 expressed higher levels of the effector T cell markers than TC3, suggesting that PD-L1 expression is regulated via an adaptive IFNγ-mediated mechanism. High PD-L1 expression on IC, but not TC, and high abundance of PD-1 + T cells and Foxp3 + T reg s are favorable prognostic factors for resected HNSCC. This study highlights the importance of comprehensive assessment of both TC and IC.",
author = "Kim, {Hye Ryun} and Sang-Jun Ha and Hong, {Min Hee} and Heo, {Su Jin} and Yoonwoo Koh and Choi, {Eun Chang} and Eunkyung Kim and Pyo, {Kyoung Ho} and Inkyung Jung and Daekwan Seo and Jaewoo Choi and ByoungChul Cho and SunOch Yoon",
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PD-L1 expression on immune cells, but not on tumor cells, is a favorable prognostic factor for head and neck cancer patients. / Kim, Hye Ryun; Ha, Sang-Jun; Hong, Min Hee; Heo, Su Jin; Koh, Yoonwoo; Choi, Eun Chang; Kim, Eunkyung; Pyo, Kyoung Ho; Jung, Inkyung; Seo, Daekwan; Choi, Jaewoo; Cho, ByoungChul; Yoon, SunOch.

In: Scientific reports, Vol. 6, 36956, 14.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Hong, Min Hee

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AU - Koh, Yoonwoo

AU - Choi, Eun Chang

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AU - Pyo, Kyoung Ho

AU - Jung, Inkyung

AU - Seo, Daekwan

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AU - Yoon, SunOch

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