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Cancer Immunol Res. 2014 Jul;2(7):690-698. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-13-0224. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

Programmed cell death ligand 1 expression in osteosarcoma.

Author information

Sarcoma Biology Laboratory, Center for Sarcoma and Connective Tissue Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States.
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States.
Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States.
Monoclonal Antibody and Immunotherapy Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.
Contributed equally


Programmed cell death ligand 1 (PDL1, also known as B7H1) is a cell-surface protein that suppresses the cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cell-mediated immune response. PDL1 expression and its clinical relevance in sarcomas are not well understood. Therefore, we sought to measure RNA expression levels for PDL1 in 38 clinically annotated osteosarcoma tumor samples and aimed to determine if PDL1 expression correlates with clinical features and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Quantitative real-time RT-PCR for PDL1 was optimized in 18 cell lines, of which 5 were osteosarcoma derived. qRT-PCR results were validated via flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry (IHC) in select cell lines. Total RNA was isolated from 38 human osteosarcoma samples for qRT-PCR analysis. Clinical data were sorted, and significance was determined by the Student t test. TILs were examined in patient samples by tissue microarray hematoxylin-eosin staining. We confirmed the constitutive PDL1 mRNA expression in cell lines by qRT-PCR, flow cytometry, and IHC. Across human osteosarcoma samples, PDL1 mRNA gene expression ranged over 4 log (>5,000-fold difference). Relative expression levels were evaluated against clinical factors such as age/gender, metastasis, recurrence, chemotherapy, percentage of necrosis, and survival; no significant associations were identified. The presence of TILs was associated with high PDL1 expression (R(2) = 0.37; P = 0.01). In summary, we developed an RNA-based assay to determine PDL1 expression levels, and we show, for the first time, that high levels of PDL1 are expressed in a subset of osteosarcoma, and PDL1 expression is positively correlated with TILs. Multiple agents targeting PD1/PDL1 are in clinical development, and this may be a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for osteosarcoma clinical trials.

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