Prognostic implications of PD-L1 expression in patients with soft tissue sarcoma

Chan Kim, Eun Kyung Kim, Hun Jung, Hong Jae Chon, Jung Woo Han, Kyoo Ho Shin, Hyuk Hu, Kyung Sik Kim, Young Deuk Choi, Sunghoon Kim, Young Han Lee, Jin Suck Suh, Joong Bae Ahn, Hyun Cheol Chung, Sung Hoon Noh, Sun Young Rha, Soo Hee Kim, Hyo Song Kim

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107 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The PD-1/PD-L1 axis plays a paramount role in the immune escape of tumor cells by negative regulation of T-cell functions. The aim of the present study was to characterize the PD-L1 expression pattern and its clinical implication in soft-tissue sarcomas (STS). Methods: We analyzed PD-L1 expression in 82 STS patients with 5 subtypes: rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, epithelioid sarcoma, and mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. Results: The median age at diagnosis was 26 (range: 1-78) and the male to female ratio was 1.6. The majority (80 %) of patients showed locoregional disease rather than metastatic disease at diagnosis. Thirty-five cases (43 %) showed PD-L1 expression and the proportion of PD-L1 expression was significantly different according to histologic subtypes (P = 0.004); highest in epithelioid sarcoma (100 %, 7/7), followed by synovial sarcoma (53 %, 10/19), rhabdomyosarcoma (38 %, 12/32), and Ewing sarcoma (33 %, 6/18), while it was not expressed in mesenchymal chondrosarcoma (0 %, 0/6). STS patients with PD-L1 expression had worse overall survival compared with those without PD-L1 expression (5-year survival rate: 48 % vs. 68 %, P = 0.015). The Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for histologic subtype, initial metastasis, and PD-L1 expression showed that PD-L1 expression was significantly associated with shorter overall survival (P = 0.037, HR 2.57, 95 % CI 1.060-6.231). Conclusion: We have confirmed PD-L1 expression in various STS of young population and demonstrated its independent negative prognostic role, thereby suggesting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of young STS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number434
JournalBMC cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (Sun Young Rha, 1520190), and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (2015R1C1A2A01055617, Hyo Song Kim).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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