Good prognostic factor in patients with nonmetastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Programmed death ligand-1 expression in tumor cells

Sahinli H., Akyurek N., Yilmaz M., Kandemir O., Duran A. O., Kulacoglu S., ...More

JOURNAL OF CANCER RESEARCH AND THERAPEUTICS, vol.16, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.4103/jcrt.jcrt_759_19
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) is the main ligand for programmed death-1 (PD-1), and is one of the major targets for cancer immunotherapy. Only a few studies are available for the clinical significance of PD-1/PD-L1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). There is a controversial association between PD-L1 expression and survival in NPC. This study aimed at defining any potential association between PD-L1 expression in tumor cells (TCs) and prognosis in NPC. Patients and Methods: A total of seventy NPC patients treated between January 2008 and December 2016 were included in the study. PD-L1 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in tumor specimens. The IHC assay was considered positive if >= 5% of TCs are stained. Clinicopathological variables were documented. Variables included in the analysis were PD-L1 expression, clinicopathological characteristics, and prognosis. Results: The estimated 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 62%. Nearly 55.7% (n = 39) of the TCs tested positive for PD-L1 expression. No associations were found between the level of PD-L1 in TCs and clinicopathological characteristics. Comparisons between patients with PD-L1-positive tumors and PD-L1-negative tumors revealed that OS was statistically significantly longer in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors as assessed by the univariate Cox regression analysis (hazard ratio [HR], 0.378; 95% confidence interval, 0.158-0.905; P = 0.029) and Kaplan-Meier curves (P = 0.023). Conclusion: PD-L1 expression is an important prognostic factor in NPC. PD-L1 expression positively correlates with survival.