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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2014 Mar;63(3):215-24. doi: 10.1007/s00262-013-1503-x. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Programmed death ligand-1 over-expression correlates with malignancy and contributes to immune regulation in ovarian cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.


The programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway is important in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance and homeostasis through suppression of T cell receptor signaling. As such, it is employed by many tumors as a means of immune escape. We have investigated the role of this pathway in human ovarian cancer (OC) to assess its potential role as a diagnostic and/or prognostic marker and therapeutic target, following recent clinical trial success of antibody therapy directed at this pathway. We show programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression on monocytes in the ascites and blood of patients with malignant OC is strikingly higher than those with benign/borderline disease, with no overlap in the values between these groups. We characterize the regulation of this molecule and show a role of IL-10 present in ascitic fluid. Flow cytometric analysis of T cells present in the ascites and blood showed a correlation of PD-1 expression with malignant tumors versus benign/borderline, in a similar manner to PD-L1 expression on monocytes. Finally, we demonstrate functional links between PD-L1 expression on monocytes and OC tumor cells with suppression of T cell responses. Overall, we present data based on samples obtained from women with ovarian cancer, suggesting the PD-1 pathway may be used as a reliable diagnostic marker in OC, as well as a viable target for use with PD-1/PD-L1-directed antibody immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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