Research Papers:

Clinicopathologic implications of the miR-197/PD-L1 axis in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Hyein Ahn, Jeong Mi Yang, Hyojin Kim, Jin-Haeng Chung, Soon-Hyun Ahn, Woo-Jin Jeong and Jin Ho Paik _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:66178-66194. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19842

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Hyein Ahn1, Jeong Mi Yang1, Hyojin Kim1, Jin-Haeng Chung1, Soon-Hyun Ahn2, Woo-Jin Jeong2 and Jin Ho Paik1

1Department of Pathology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea

2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea

Correspondence to:

Jin Ho Paik, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PD-L1, oral squamous cell carcinoma, miR-197, microRNA, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes

Received: December 02, 2016    Accepted: June 27, 2017    Published: August 03, 2017


Immune escape of a tumor from tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) is induced by PD-L1, which is suppressed by miR-197. We investigated the clinicopathologic implications of the miR-197/PD-L1 axis and its effects on TILs and the clinicopathologic features of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We used RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry in 68 OSCC patients to analyze the correlations between tumoral expression of miR-197 and PD-L1 and the degree of tumoral invasion by TILs (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, PD-1+, FoxP3+, and CD20+ lymphocytes). PD-L1 levels correlated inversely with miR-197 but correlated positively with TILs. The aggressive features of OSCC, including high stage, angiolymphatic invasion, perineural invasion, and death, were associated with TIL depletion. High T stage (T4) tumors also had low PD-L1 but had high miR-197 expression. In a univariate survival analysis of the full cohort, high miR-197 was associated with poor overall survival, whereas high PD-L1 expression (2+) associated with good overall survival. In a multivariate analysis stratified based on miR-197 (median), high PD-L1 expression (2+) was an independent favorable prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.040) in the miR-197high subgroup but not the miR-197low subgroup. These findings may have clinicopathologic implications for the miR-197/PD-L1 axis and TILs in OSCC.

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