Programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is associated with poor prognosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients with good performance status

Pathology 2020 November 30 [Link]

Eltjona Rrapaj, Lorenzo Giacometti, Paolo Spina, Michela Salvo, Guido Alessandro Baselli, Claudia Veggiani, Ottavio Rena, Elena Trisolini, Renzo Luciano Boldorini


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is often associated with a poor prognosis and options for the treatment of this disease are few. To date, the important role of the immune microenvironment in modifying the disease natural history is well established. The programmed cell death pathway (PD-1/PD-L1) limits the T lymphocyte activation in peripheral tissues when an inflammatory response occurs, and controls the tumour immune escape. PD-L1 is broadly expressed in several malignant tumours and associated with poor clinical outcomes. Thus, the aim of our study is to investigate the potential role of PD-L1 expression in MPM prognosis. Biopsy samples from 198 patients diagnosed with MPM were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to evaluate PD-L1 protein and gene expression. For PD-L1 protein expression we consider at least 5% membranous staining as positive. Gene expression levels were calculated with ΔΔCt method. Positive expression of PD-L1 by IHC was correlated with worse overall survival (OS; p=0.0225) in MPM patients. PD-L1 positive status was correlated with worse OS in the subgroup of patients with ECOG score <2 (p=0.0004, n=129) and these data were confirmed by multivariate analysis. No significant correlation was found between PD-L1 gene expression and OS. Our results show that PD-L1 evaluated by IHC assay may be a prognostic biomarker for MPM patients with good performance status.