Research Papers:

PD-1 mRNA expression in peripheral blood cells and its modulation characteristics in cancer patients

Wei Wang, Ge Shen, Shikai Wu, Shiping Song, Yanli Ni, Zhuoyao Suo, Xiangying Meng, Dan Li, Lin Zhou, Rimin Hao, Yaowei Zhao, Li Bai, Lili Hou, Bing Liu _ and Guangxian Liu

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:50782-50791. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15006

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Wei Wang1, Ge Shen1, Shikai Wu1, Shiping Song1, Yanli Ni1, Zhuoyao Suo1, Xiangying Meng1, Dan Li1, Lin Zhou1, Rimin Hao1, Yaowei Zhao1, Li Bai1, Lili Hou1, Bing Liu1 and Guangxian Liu1

1Cancer Therapy Center, Affiliated Hospital of The Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing 100071, China

Correspondence to:

Guangxian Liu, email: [email protected]

Bing Liu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PD-1, peripheral immune cells, immunomodulation, radiation therapy, cancer

Received: June 15, 2016     Accepted: January 16, 2017     Published: February 02, 2017


Immune checkpoint inhibitors that block the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway have been used to treat a wide variety of cancers. Although results have been promising, significant inter-individual and inter-tumor variability has been observed. It is believed that better clinical outcome could be achieved if the treatment was individually designed based on the functional status of the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling and the cellular immunity. In this study, we analyzed the mRNA expression of PD-1 and other immunomodulatory genes in peripheral blood from cancer patients, and immunomodulatory gene expression during radiotherapy and immunomodulation therapy with cytokines. Our results show that the PD-1 mRNA expression is significantly increased in peripheral blood in cancer patients. Anti-cancer treatments can significantly modulate the PD-1 expression, but this is largely dependent on the initial immune status. Moreover, the PD-1 expression on peripheral lymphocytes can be immunoactivation-derived. These results suggest that the regulation and expression pattern of PD-1/PD-L1 signal is complicated which will influence the effect of blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 signaling pathway for cancer treatment. Through combined analysis of PD-1, CTLA-4, and other immune markers in peripheral blood, we may accurately evaluate the functional status of PD-1/PD-L1 signaling and cellular immunity, thereby providing clues for guiding anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 treatment.

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