Research Papers:

PD-L1 and c-MET expression and survival in patients with small cell lung cancer

Lulu Miao _, Yunyun Lu, Yanjun Xu, Gu Zhang, Zhiyu Huang, Lei Gong and Yun Fan

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:53978-53988. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9765

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Lulu Miao1,*, Yunyun Lu1,*, Yanjun Xu1, Gu Zhang2, Zhiyu Huang1, Lei Gong1 and Yun Fan1

1Department of Thoracic Medical Oncology, Hangzhou, 310022, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China

2Department of Pathology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, 310022, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yun Fan, email: [email protected]

Keywords: small cell lung cancer, PD-L1, c-MET, expression, prognosis

Received: October 31, 2015     Accepted: April 29, 2016     Published: June 1, 2016


Background: Blocking the binding between the PD-1 and PD-L1 has been reported to produce antitumor responses. The MET/HGF axis appears to be another signaling pathway frequently altered in small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Our study was aimed to investigate the expression and prognostic roles of PD-L1 and c-MET in SCLC.

Methods: The expression levels of PD-L1 and c-MET were evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis in 83 SCLC specimens. Survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Of the SCLC specimens, 51.8% and 25.3% exhibited positivity for PD-L1 and c-MET, respectively. Higher PD-L1 expression in tumor specimens was significantly correlated with a limited disease (LD) stage, normal levels of serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE). No association was found between the levels of c-MET and PD-L1 expression or between c-MET expression and other clinical characteristics. SCLC patients with PD-L1-positive tumors showed significantly longer overall survival (OS) than patients with PD-L1-negative tumors (17.0 vs 9.0, p=0.018). Conversely, those with positive c-MET expression exhibited a shorter OS trend (12.0 vs 15.0, p=0.186). However, sub-analysis of LD-stage patients revealed longer OS among the c-MET-negative group (25.0 vs 14.0; p=0.011). The OS of patients with positivity for both PD-L1 and c-MET showed no significant difference compared with other patients (p=0.17). According to multivariate analyses, neither PD-L1 nor c-MET immunoreactivity was a prognostic factor.

Conclusion: Expression of PD-L1 was correlated with LD stage and might serve as a prognostic for better OS in SCLC patients. In LD-stage patients, high c-MET expression might be predictive of a poor outcome.

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