Article Abstract

Clinical relevance of PD-L1 and PD-L2 overexpression in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Authors: Chih-Cheng Hsieh, Han-Shui Hsu, Anna Fen-Yau Li, Yann-Jang Chen


Background: Even with the advance of diagnosis and the treatment, the 5-year survival rate for esophageal cancer patients is still poor. The checkpoint protein inhibition provides another choice to improve the survival. The expression of the programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) was reported but the clinical relevance remained inconsistent in esophageal cancer. Besides, there were few references about the other ligand, programed death ligand-2 (PD-L2). In this study, we evaluated the expressions of PD-L1 and PD-L2 in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and assessed their clinical relevance.
Methods: From 1996 to 2011, 150 patients undergone complete surgical resection for ESCC were enrolled. Clinical data were recorded. Expression of PD-L1 and PD-L2 on cytoplasm in paraffin embedded tumor samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry staining and scored with a semi-quantitative method.
Results: Of the patients, 96 (64.0%) patients had PD-L1 overexpression and 63 (42.0%) had PD-L2 overexpression. There was a correlation between the expression of PD-L1 and PD-L2 (P<0.001). Patients without overexpression of PD-L1, pathological T1–2 and N0 status, pathological stage I–II and no post-operative adjuvant treatment had a better disease free survival (DFS). In multivariate analysis, PD-L1 expression and pathological stage were the independent prognostic factors for DFS. The expression of PD-L2 did not influence the DFS. Although not statistically significant, patients without overexpression of PD-L1 and PD-L2 seem to have a better overall survival (OS).
Conclusions: The overexpression of PD-L1 on cytoplasm, not PD-L2, is an independent prognostic factor for DFS in patients with ESCC undergone esophagectomy. However, there is a trend which suggested that patients without overexpression of PD-L1 and PD-L2 had a better OS.