Infiltration of PD-1-positive cells in combination with tumor site PD-L1 expression is a positive prognostic factor in cutaneous angiosarcoma
Atsushi Otsuka, Yuki Honda, Kenji Kabashima
Department of Dermatology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
Cutaneous angiosarcoma (CAS) is a malignant sarcoma with poor prognosis. Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death-1 ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression reflects antitumor immunity, and is associated with patient prognosis in various cancers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between PD-1/PD-L1 expression and CAS prognosis. CAScases (n = 106) were immunohistochemically studied for PD-L1 and PD-1 expression, and the correlation with patient prognosis was analyzed. PD-L1 expression was assessed by flow cytometry on three CAS cell lines with or without IFN-γ stimulation. A total of 30.2% of patients’ samples were positive for PD-L1, and 17.9% showed a high infiltration of PD-1-positive cells. Univariate analysis showed a significant relationship between a high infiltration of PD-1 positive cells with tumor site PD-L1 expression and favorable survival in stage 1 patients (p = 0.014, log-rank test). Multivariable Cox-proportional hazard regression analysis also showed that patients with a high infiltration of PD-1 positive cells with tumor site PD-L1 expression were more likely to have favorable survival, after adjustment with possible confounders (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.38, p = 0.021, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16-0.86). Immunofluorescence staining of CAS samples revealed that PD-L1-positive cells were adjacent to PD-1-positive cells and/or tumor stroma with high IFN-γ expression. In vitro stimulation with IFN-γ increased PD-L1 expression in two out of three established CAS cell lines. Our results suggest that PD-1/PD-L1 expression is related to CAS progression, and the treatment with anti-PD-1 antibodies could be a new therapeutic option for CAS.