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Mod Pathol. 2016 Sep;29(9):1028-37. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2016.108. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Analysis of PD-L1, T-cell infiltrate and HLA expression in chondrosarcoma indicates potential for response to immunotherapy specifically in the dedifferentiated subtype.

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Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Department of Rheumatology, Hôpital Pellegrin, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Cedex, France.
Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Bergonié, Bordeaux Cedex, France.


Therapies targeting the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) or its ligand (PD-L1) promote antitumor T-cell activity, leading to unprecedented long-lasting tumor responses in some advanced cancers. Because of radiotherapy and chemotherapy resistance, no effective treatments have been defined for advanced chondrosarcomas. We here report an immunohistochemical analysis of PD-L1 expression in a large series of conventional, mesenchymal, clear cell and dedifferentiated chondrosarcomas using tissue microarrays. In the PD-L1-positive tumors, we analyzed the immune microenvironment (T-cell and macrophage infiltration as well as HLA class I expression) using whole sections. PD-L1 expression was absent in conventional (n=119), mesenchymal (n=19) and clear cell (n=20) chondrosarcomas. Forty-one percent (9 of the 22) of dedifferentiated chondrosarcomas displayed PD-L1 positivity. These results were confirmed in an independent cohort using whole tissue sections of dedifferentiated chondrosarcomas in which PD-L1 expression was detected in 52% (11 of the 21) of cases. PD-L1 expression was exclusively found in the dedifferentiated component and expression positively correlated with other immune parameters such as high number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (P=0.014) and positive HLA class I expression (P=0.024) but not with patient overall survival (P=0.22). The presence of PD-L1 expression in association with immune-infiltrating cells and HLA class I expression in nearly 50% of the dedifferentiated chondrosarcomas provides rationale for including these patients in clinical trials with PD-1/PD-L1-targeted therapies.

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