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Expression and Prognostic Value of Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes and PD-L1 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Authors Nie H, He T, Wang L, Zhang L

Received 22 December 2020

Accepted for publication 29 January 2021

Published 25 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1377—1385

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S289720

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Alberto Bongiovanni


Hanxiao Nie, Tao He, Li Wang, Ling Zhang

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery,The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, 450008, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Hanxiao Nie
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University, 127 Dongming Road, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou, 450008, People’s Republic of China
Tel +8615290055861
Email [email protected]
Ling Zhang
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University, 127 Dongming Road, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou, 450008, People’s Republic of China
Tel/Fax +86 371 6558 7787
Email [email protected]

Aim: To explore the difference in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and programmed death-ligand (PD-L1) in primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its adjacent tissues, and to evaluate their effect on HCC prognosis.
Methods: Liver cancer and paracancerous tissue samples were collected from 72 patients who underwent radical hepatectomy between December 15, 2017 and January 9, 2019. Flow cytometry was used to detect the distribution of TILs and PD-L1, analyze the correlation between the expression of CD8/CD3 and PD-L1 and clinical-pathological parameters, and evaluate their effect on the prognosis of HCC patients.
Results: The distribution proportion of CD3+T cells, CD4+T cells, and PD-L1 in liver cancer were significantly higher than in paracancerous tissues, while the distribution proportion of CD8+T cells was significantly lower (all P< 0.05). In HCC, the distribution proportion of CD8+T cells was related to tumor size and stage, while the PD-L1 expression was related to the tumor stage only (all P < 0.05). Univariate analysis showed that tumor differentiation, TNM stage, expression of CD8/CD3, and PD-L1 in tumor tissue were related to disease-free survival (DFS)(P < 0.05); multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that tumor differentiation, TNM stage, CD8/CD3, and PD-L1 expression were independent influencing factors of postoperative DFS (P < 0.05). Kaplan–Meier survival curve analysis showed that the DFS of CD8/CD3 high expression group was significantly higher than that of the low expression group, and the DFS of PD-L1 low expression group was significantly higher than that of the high expression group (all P < 0.05).
Conclusion: There are significant differences in the distribution of TILs and PD-L1 in HCC and paracancerous tissues. The expression of CD8/CD3 and PD-L1 in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in HCC may help evaluate the immunological indexes of prognosis after radical resection of HCC and to further the study of immunotherapy in patients with HCC.

Keywords: liver cancer, TILs, PD-L1, DFS

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