Prognostic value of PD-L1 expression in bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine tumours

in Endocrine Connections
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  • 1 E Rösner, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany
  • 2 D Kaemmerer, Department of General and Visceral Surgery, Zentralklinik Bad Berka, Bad Berka, Germany
  • 3 E Neubauer, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany
  • 4 J Sänger, Institute of Pathology and Cytology Bad Berka, Zentralklinik Bad Berka, Bad Berka, Germany
  • 5 A Lupp, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

Correspondence: Amelie Lupp, Email: amelie.lupp@med.uni-jena.de

Programmed death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand, PD-L1, have emerged as promising therapeutic targets for many types of cancer that overexpress PD-L1. However, data on PD-L1 expression levels in bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasms (BP-NEN) are limited and contradictory. In the present study, a total of 298 archived, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded BP-NEN samples from 97 patients diagnosed with typical carcinoid (TC), atypical carcinoid (AC), small cell lung cancer (SCLC), or large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung (LCNEC) were evaluated for PD-L1 expression by immunohistochemistry using the highly sensitive monoclonal anti-PD-L1 antibody 73-10. PD-L1 expression levels were semiquantitatively estimated by tumour grading. Of the 298 BP-NEN samples, 85% were positive for PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 immunostaining predominantly localized to the plasma membrane of both tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells. SCLC and LCNEC exhibited significantly higher PD-L1 expression levels than TC or AC. PD-L1 expression levels were also higher in patients with lymph node or distant metastases, in patients who smoked, and in patients who died during the follow-up period. Moreover, PD-L1 expression levels correlated positively with tumour grading, Ki-67 index and the expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and negatively with the levels of somatostatin receptor 1 and chromogranin A. High tumour PD-L1 levels were associated with poor patient outcomes. In conclusion, PD-L1 expression is common in BP-NEN, increases with malignancy, and is associated with poor prognosis. Therefore, targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis could be a promising strategy for treating BP-NEN. PD-L1 may also represent a useful prognostic biomarker for this tumour entity.

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     European Society of Endocrinology

     Society for Endocrinology

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