PD-L1 Expression and a High Tumor Infiltrate of CD8+ Lymphocytes Predict Outcome in Patients with Oropharyngeal Squamous Cells Carcinoma.

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Wuerdemann N., Gultekin S. E., Puetz K., Wittekindt C., Huebbers C. U., Sharma S. J., ...More

International journal of molecular sciences, vol.21, no.15, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 15
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijms21155228
  • Journal Name: International journal of molecular sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, human papillomavirus, programmed cell death 1 ligand 1, CD8-positive T-lymphocytes, MHC I, macrophages, tumor micro-environment, prognosis, HLA CLASS-I, HPV-ASSOCIATED HEAD, MHC CLASS-I, HUMAN-PAPILLOMAVIRUS, PROGNOSTIC BIOMARKER, T-CELLS, DOWN-REGULATION, NECK, ASSOCIATION, PROTEIN
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Carcinogenesis of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related (+) oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) differs from HPV-negative (-) OPSCC. HPV-related immune-escape-mechanism could be responsible for the development and progression of HPV+ tumors and an immunophenotype different from HPV- OPSCC is expected. The purpose of this study was to analyze the expression of programmed cell death protein 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) and its prognostic relevance in relation to CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I expression in OPSCC. We quantified PD-L1 expression on tumor cells (TC) and macrophages and MHC I expression in association to CD8(+)TILs by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarray derived from 171 HPV+/-OPSCC. HPV-status was determined by p16(INK4a)immunohistochemistry/HPV-DNA detection. Presence of CD8(+)TILs, PD-L1 expression on TC, and a more frequent loss of MHC I in HPV+ compared to HPV- OPSCC was detected. A high amount of CD8(+)TILs in the whole cohort and in HPV+ OPSCC and PD-L1 expression on TC in HPV- OPSCC was associated with favorable overall survival. There was a trend for an improved outcome according to PD-L1 expression (macrophages) in HPV+ OPSCC without reaching statistical significance. CD8(+)TILs and PD-L1-expression have prognostic impact in OPSCC and might present useful biomarkers for predicting clinical outcome and personalized therapy concepts.