Significant association of increased PD-L1 and PD-1 expression with nodal metastasis and a poor prognosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Y. Maruse, S. Kawano, T. Jinno, R. Matsubara, Y. Goto, N. Kaneko, T. Sakamoto, Y. Hashiguchi, M. Moriyama, T. Toyoshima, R. Kitamura, H. Tanaka, K. Oobu, T. Kiyoshima, S. Nakamura

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62 Citations (Scopus)


Programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and its receptor PD-1 are immune checkpoint molecules that attenuate the immune response. Blockade of PD-L1 enhances the immune response in a variety of tumours and thus serves as an effective anti-cancer treatment. However, the biological and prognostic roles of PD-L1/PD-1 signalling in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remain to be elucidated. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation of PD-L1/PD-1 signalling with the prognosis of OSCC patients to assess its potential therapeutic relevance. The expression of PD-L1 and of PD-1 was determined immunohistochemically in 97 patients with OSCC and the association of this expression with clinicopathological characteristics was examined. Increased expression of PD-L1 was found in 64.9% of OSCC cases and increased expression of PD-1 was found in 61.9%. Univariate and multivariate analysis revealed that increased expression of PD-L1 and PD-1 positively correlated with cervical lymph node metastasis. The expression of CD25, an activated T-cell marker, was negatively correlated with the labelling index of PD-L1 and PD-1. Moreover, the patient group with PD-L1-positive and PD-1-positive expression showed a more unfavourable prognosis than the group with PD-L1-negative and PD-1-negative expression. These data suggest that increased PD-L1 and PD-1 expression is predictive of nodal metastasis and a poor prognosis and is possibly involved in cancer progression via attenuating the immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-845
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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