Research Papers:

PD-1 and PD-L1 expression in 132 recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma: the correlation with anemia and outcomes

Yajuan Zhou, Jingjing Miao, Haijun Wu, Hao Tang, Jing Kuang, Xiaoyi Zhou, Yi Peng, Desheng Hu, Dingbo Shi, Wuguo Deng, Xinyue Cao, Chong Zhao _ and Conghua Xie

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:51210-51223. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17214

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Yajuan Zhou1,2,*, Jingjing Miao3,*, Haijun Wu3, Hao Tang4, Jing Kuang4, Xiaoyi Zhou2, Yi Peng2, Desheng Hu2, Dingbo Shi5, Wuguo Deng5, Xinyue Cao6, Chong Zhao1,3 and Conghua Xie1

1Hubei Key Laboratory of Tumor Biological Behaviors, Department of Radiation and Medical Oncology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

2Department of Radiation Oncology, Hubei Cancer Hospital, Wuhan, China

3Department of Nasopharynx, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medical, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China

4Department of Pathology, Hubei Cancer Hospital, Wuhan, China

5Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medical, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China

6Department of Biological Repositories, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Chong Zhao, email: [email protected]

Conghua Xie, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PD-L1, PD-1, HIF-1α, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, recurrent

Received: January 04, 2017     Accepted: March 31, 2017     Published: April 19, 2017


The expression of Programmed death-1 (PD-1) / programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has been reported to be reliable prognostic factors in various malignances including primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, the exact role of PD-1/PD-L1 in recurrent NPC remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between the expression of PD-1 / PD-L1 and the clinical-pathology as well the outcomes of recurrent NPC patients (n = 132). The expression of PD-1 and PD-L1 was measured by immunohistochemistry staining. The relationship between PD-1 / PD-L1 and factors involved in clinic-pathology and outcomes of patients with NPC was assessed by correlation analysis. To further explore the association between PD-L1 and anemia, immunofluorescence analysis was performed to investigate the correlation of PD-L1 with hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). We observed that advanced rT classification and anemia status before salvage treatment was associated with high level of PD-L1 in recurrent NPC patients, and PD-L1 and was co-located with HIF-1α in recurrent tumors by immunofluorescence analysis. Moreover, our result suggested that PD-L1 might be a negative indicator for recurrent NPC patients as well as age, rT classification, anemia and tumor necrosis at diagnose of recurrence. Taken together, our results revealed that PD-L1 might be a potential prognostic biomarker for recurrent NPC patients, and advanced re-stage, anemia might represent as candidate biomarkers for evaluating patients’ response to anti-PD-1 / PD-L1-treatment. However, further studies are needed to clarify the underlying mechanism of hypoxia in immunosuppression process induced by PD-1 / PD-L1 axis.

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