Research Papers:

Co-expression of AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 predicts poor prognosis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Yanyan Tang, Yi He, Lei Shi, Liting Yang, Jinpeng Wang, Yu Lian, Chunmei Fan, Ping Zhang, Can Guo, Shanshan Zhang, Zhaojian Gong, Xiayu Li, Fang Xiong, Xiaoling Li, Yong Li, Guiyuan Li, Wei Xiong and Zhaoyang Zeng _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:39001-39011. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16545

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Yanyan Tang1,2,3, Yi He2,4, Lei Shi5, Liting Yang2, Jinpeng Wang2, Yu Lian2, Chunmei Fan2, Ping Zhang6, Can Guo2, Shanshan Zhang1, Zhaojian Gong2,5, Xiayu Li3, Fang Xiong1, Xiaoling Li1,2,3, Yong Li2,7, Guiyuan Li1,2,3, Wei Xiong1,2,3 and Zhaoyang Zeng1,2,3

1The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis of the Chinese Ministry of Health, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

2The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion of the Chinese Ministry of Education, Cancer Research Institute, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

3Hunan Key Laboratory of Nonresolving Inflammation and Cancer, Disease Genome Research Center, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

4Hunan Key Laboratory of Translational Radiation Oncology, Hunan Cancer Hospital and The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

5Department of pathology, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

6School of Information Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China

7Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to:

Zhaoyang Zeng, email: [email protected]

Lei Shi, email: [email protected]

Keywords: long non-coding RNA, AFAP1-AS1, programmed death 1 (PD-1), prognosis, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC)

Received: January 13, 2017    Accepted: February 15, 2017    Published: March 24, 2017


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) carries a high potential for metastasis and immune escape, with a great risk of relapse after primary treatment. Through analysis of whole genome expression profiling data in NPC samples, we found that the expression of a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), actin filament-associated protein 1 antisense RNA 1 (AFAP1-AS1), is significantly correlated with the immune escape marker programmed death 1 (PD-1). We therefore assessed the expression of AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 in a cohort of 96 paraffin-embedded NPC samples and confirmed that AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 are co-expressed in infiltrating lymphocytes in NPC tissue. Moreover, patients with high expression of AFAP1-AS1 or PD-1 in infiltrating lymphocytes were more prone to distant metastasis, and NPC patients with positive expression of both AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 had the poorest prognosis. This study suggests that AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 may be potential therapeutic targets in NPC and that patients with co-expression of AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 may be ideal candidates for future clinical trials of anti-PD-1 immune therapy.

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