The expression and clinical relevance of PD-1, PD-L1, and TP63 in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

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Latest study showed that a novel translocation between programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) (cluster of differentiation 274) and TP63 (tumor protein 63) can be found in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), resulting in their conjunct overexpression in tumor cells at RNA level. However, the expressed pattern of these 2 genes at protein level in DLBCL remains largely unknown, and the clinical relevance of PD-L1 and TP63 expression in DLBCL are also unclear.

Tumor tissues from 76 Chinese DLBCL patients were immunostained for programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), PD-L1, and TP63 using the EnVision system. Clinical relevance of PD-1, PD-L1, and TP63 in 74 DLBCL were analyzed by chi-square test, the Kaplan–Meier curves with log rank test, and Cox's proportional hazards regression model.

PD-1 was mainly expressed in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) of 39.5% patients. PD-L1 was expressed in tumor cells of 26.3% patients, and TP63 was immunostained in nucleoli of tumor cells of 31.6% cases. PD-1 expression was significantly associated with the patients’ gender and B symptoms (P = 0.032, P = 0.026). DLBCL with PD-L1 or TP63 expression in tumor cells showed low International Prognostic Index (IPI) score (P = 0.007, P = 0.009). PD-1+ TILs was related to prolonged overall survival rate (OS) of DLBCL patients (P = 0.02), whereas PD-L1 expression was associated with worse clinical outcome of patients (P = 0.049). Immunoreactivity of TP63 was not correlated with patients’ survival time. Besides, PD-1 expression, patients’ age, Ann Arbor stage, and IPI score were significant prognostic markers for OS, but PD-L1 and TP63 had no prognostic significance.

PD-1, PD-L1, and TP63 are frequently expressed in DLBCL. PD-1/PD-L1/TP63 blockade may be a potential therapeutic strategy for some patients.

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