Research Papers:

PD-L1 is an independent prognostic predictor in gastric cancer of Western patients

Christine Böger, Hans-Michael Behrens, Micaela Mathiak, Sandra Krüger, Holger Kalthoff and Christoph Röcken _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:24269-24283. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8169

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Christine Böger1, Hans-Michael Behrens1, Micaela Mathiak1, Sandra Krüger1, Holger Kalthoff2, Christoph Röcken1

1Department of Pathology, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany

2Department of Experimental Cancer Research, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany

Correspondence to:

Christoph Röcken, e-mail: christoph.roecken@uksh.de

Keywords: programmed death-1, predictive biomarker, immune therapy, pembrolizumab

Received: February 03, 2016     Accepted: March 02, 2016     Published: March 18, 2016


Targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint signaling is a novel promising treatment strategy in several tumor entities, and it is suggested that PD-L1/PD-1 expression is predictive for a PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor treatment response. We investigated the expression of PD-L1 and PD-1 by immunohistochemistry in a large and well characterized gastric cancer (GC) cohort of Caucasian patients, consisting of 465 GC samples and 15 corresponding liver metastases. Staining results were correlated with clinico-pathological characteristics and survival. PD-L1 expression was found in tumor cells of 140 GCs (30.1%) and 9 liver metastases (60%) respectively in immune cells of 411 GCs (88.4%) and 11 liver metastases (73.3%). PD-1 was expressed in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in 250 GCs (53.8%) and in 11 liver metastases (73.3%). PD-L1 expression was significantly more prevalent in men, GCs of the proximal stomach, unclassified, papillary, Her2/neu-positive, Epstein-Barr-virus-positive, microsatellite instable, and PIK3CA-mutated GCs. A high PD-L1/PD-1 expression was associated with a significantly better patient outcome, and PD-L1 turned out to be an independent survival prognosticator. The correlation of PD-L1/PD-1 expression with distinct clinico-pathological patient characteristics may serve as a surrogate marker of PD-L1-positive GCs and may direct the use of immune checkpoint treatment strategies.

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