Gene Summary

Gene:PDCD1; programmed cell death 1
Aliases: PD1, PD-1, CD279, SLEB2, hPD-1, hPD-l, hSLE1
Summary:This gene encodes a cell surface membrane protein of the immunoglobulin superfamily. This protein is expressed in pro-B-cells and is thought to play a role in their differentiation. In mice, expression of this gene is induced in the thymus when anti-CD3 antibodies are injected and large numbers of thymocytes undergo apoptosis. Mice deficient for this gene bred on a BALB/c background developed dilated cardiomyopathy and died from congestive heart failure. These studies suggest that this gene product may also be important in T cell function and contribute to the prevention of autoimmune diseases. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:programmed cell death protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: PDCD1 (cancer-related)

Spranger S, Bao R, Gajewski TF
Melanoma-intrinsic β-catenin signalling prevents anti-tumour immunity.
Nature. 2015; 523(7559):231-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melanoma treatment is being revolutionized by the development of effective immunotherapeutic approaches. These strategies include blockade of immune-inhibitory receptors on activated T cells; for example, using monoclonal antibodies against CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1 (refs 3-5). However, only a subset of patients responds to these treatments, and data suggest that therapeutic benefit is preferentially achieved in patients with a pre-existing T-cell response against their tumour, as evidenced by a baseline CD8(+) T-cell infiltration within the tumour microenvironment. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the presence or absence of a spontaneous anti-tumour T-cell response in subsets of cases, therefore, should enable the development of therapeutic solutions for patients lacking a T-cell infiltrate. Here we identify a melanoma-cell-intrinsic oncogenic pathway that contributes to a lack of T-cell infiltration in melanoma. Molecular analysis of human metastatic melanoma samples revealed a correlation between activation of the WNT/β-catenin signalling pathway and absence of a T-cell gene expression signature. Using autochthonous mouse melanoma models we identified the mechanism by which tumour-intrinsic active β-catenin signalling results in T-cell exclusion and resistance to anti-PD-L1/anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody therapy. Specific oncogenic signals, therefore, can mediate cancer immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapies, pointing to new candidate targets for immune potentiation.

Cha E, Wallin J, Kowanetz M
PD-L1 inhibition with MPDL3280A for solid tumors.
Semin Oncol. 2015; 42(3):484-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer immunotherapy has become a popular anticancer approach, with the goal of stimulating immune responses against tumor cells. Recent evidence has demonstrated that the use of monoclonal antibodies targeting the programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1)/programmed death-1 (PD-1) checkpoint pathway can result in well-tolerated clinical responses in a wide variety of tumor types. This review summarizes the safety, clinical activity and biomarker data for the anti-PD-L1 antibody, MPDL3280A, from a phase Ia multicenter, dose-escalation and -expansion trial. The data to date suggest that MPDL3280A is most effective in patients with pre-existing immunity suppressed by PD-L1 and reinvigorated upon antibody treatment.

Djenidi F, Adam J, Goubar A, et al.
CD8+CD103+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are tumor-specific tissue-resident memory T cells and a prognostic factor for survival in lung cancer patients.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(7):3475-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
We had previously demonstrated the role of CD103 integrin on lung tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) clones in promoting specific TCR-mediated epithelial tumor cell cytotoxicity. However, the contribution of CD103 on intratumoral T cell distribution and functions and the prognosis significance of TIL subpopulations in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) have thus far not been systematically addressed. In this study, we show that an enhanced CD103(+) TIL subset correlates with improved early stage NSCLC patient survival and increased intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration. Moreover, our results indicate that CD8(+)CD103(+) TIL, freshly isolated from NSCLC specimens, display transcriptomic and phenotypic signatures characteristic of tissue-resident memory T cells and frequently express PD-1 and Tim-3 checkpoint receptors. This TIL subset also displays increased activation-induced cell death and mediates specific cytolytic activity toward autologous tumor cells upon blockade of the PD-1-PD-L1 interaction. These findings emphasize the role of CD8(+)CD103(+) tissue-resident memory T cells in promoting intratumoral CTL responses and support the rationale for using anti-PD-1 blocking Ab to reverse tumor-induced T cell exhaustion in NSCLC patients.

Boes M, Meyer-Wentrup F
TLR3 triggering regulates PD-L1 (CD274) expression in human neuroblastoma cells.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 361(1):49-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children, causing 12% of all pediatric cancer mortality. Neuroblastoma specific T-cells have been detected in patients, but usually fail to attack and eradicate the tumors. Tumor immune evasion may thus play an important role in neuroblastoma pathogenicity. Recent research in adult cancer patients shows that targeting T-cell check-point molecules PD-1/PD-L1 (or CD279/CD274) may bolster immune reactivity against solid tumors. Also, infections can be associated with spontaneous neuroblastoma regression. In our current study, we therefore investigated if antibody targeting of PD-L1 and triggering of selective pathogen-receptor Toll-like receptors (TLRs) potentiates immunogenicity of neuroblastoma cells. We find this to be the case. TLR3 triggering induced strong upregulation of both MHC class I and PD-L1 on neuroblastoma cells. At the same time TGF-β levels decreased and IL-8 secretion was induced. The combined neuroblastoma cell treatment using PD-L1 blockade and TLR3 triggering using virus analog poly(I:C) moreover induced CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell activation. Thus, we propose combined treatment using PD-L1 blockade with synthetic TLR ligands as an avenue toward new immunotherapy against human neuroblastoma.

Balan M, Mier y Teran E, Waaga-Gasser AM, et al.
Novel roles of c-Met in the survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1 expression.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(13):8110-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/03/2016 Related Publications
The receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met is overexpressed in renal cancer cells and can play major role in the growth and survival of tumor. We investigated how the c-Met-mediated signaling through binding to its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can modulate the apoptosis and immune escape mechanism(s) of renal cancer cells by the regulations of novel molecules heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1). We found that HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling activated the Ras/Raf pathway and down-regulated cancer cell apoptosis; and it was associated with the overexpression of cytoprotective HO-1 and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. c-Met-induced HO-1 overexpression was regulated at the transcriptional level. Next, we observed that c-Met induction markedly up-regulated the expression of the negative co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1, and this can be prevented following treatment of the cells with pharmacological inhibitors of c-Met. Interestingly, HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling could not induce PD-L1 at the optimum level when either Ras or HO-1 was knocked down. To study the functional significance of c-Met-induced PD-L1 expression, we performed a co-culture assay using mouse splenocytes (expressing PD-L1 receptor PD-1) and murine renal cancer cells (RENCA, expressing high PD-L1). We observed that the splenocyte-mediated apoptosis of cancer cells during co-culture was markedly increased in the presence of either c-Met inhibitor or PD-L1 neutralizing antibody. Finally, we found that both c-Met and PD-L1 are significantly up-regulated and co-localized in human renal cancer tissues. Together, our study suggests a novel mechanism(s) by which c-Met can promote increased survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1.

Delas A, Gaulard P, Plat G, et al.
Follicular variant of peripheral T cell lymphoma with mediastinal involvement in a child: a case report.
Virchows Arch. 2015; 466(3):351-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Peripheral T cell lymphomas are rare in young patients. We report the first case of a follicular variant of peripheral T cell lymphoma not otherwise specified in an 11-year-old boy, who presented with a large mediastinal mass. Microscopic examination of the mediastinal biopsy revealed nodular infiltration of medium- to large-sized atypical lymphocytes. Immunohistochemistry showed expression of follicular helper T cell markers (CD10, PD1, CXCL13, and BCL6) in tumor T cells. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was not detected by an in situ hybridization assay for EBV-encoded RNA. Interestingly, fluorescence in situ hybridization detected the presence in the tumor cells of the t(5;9)(q33;q22) translocation, involving ITK and SYK rearrangement. T cell clonality was detected by multiplex PCR analysis of TRG and TRD gene rearrangements. After 4 cycles of systemic chemotherapy, the patient was in complete remission. Although this entity is very rare, our observations show that lymphomas arising from T follicular helper cells may occur in children and that this should be distinguished from other lymphomas, such T-lymphoblastic lymphomas, which require a specific therapeutic approach.

Massari F, Santoni M, Ciccarese C, et al.
PD-1 blockade therapy in renal cell carcinoma: current studies and future promises.
Cancer Treat Rev. 2015; 41(2):114-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
RCC is considered an immunogenic tumor with a prominent dysfunctional immune cell infiltrate, unable to control tumor growth. Evasion of immune surveillance, a process defined immune-editing, leads to malignant progression. The striking improvement of knowledge in immunology has led to the identification of immune checkpoints (such as CTLA-4 and PD-1), whose blockage enhances the antitumor immunity. The interaction between PD-1, an inducible inhibitory receptor expressed on lymphocytes and DCs, and PD-L1 ligand, expressed by tumor cells, results in a down-regulation of the T-cell response. Therefore, the PD-1/PD-L1 axis inhibition by targeted-antibodies, increasing the T-cell proliferation and cytotoxicity, represents a promising mechanism to stimulate the anti-tumor activity of the immune system, improving the outcomes of cancer patients. Several PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors have been evaluated in different tumor types, showing promising results. The interesting correlation between lymphocytes PD-1 expression and RCC advanced stage, grade and prognosis, as well as the selective PD-L1 expression by RCC tumor cells and its potential association with worse clinical outcomes, have led to the development of new anti PD-1/PD-L1 agents, alone or in combination with anti-angiogenic drugs or other immunotherapeutic approaches, for the treatment of RCC. In this review we discuss the role of PD-1/PD-L1 in RCC, focusing on the biological rationale, current clinical studies and promising therapeutic perspectives to target the PD-1 pathway.

Schultheis AM, Scheel AH, Ozretić L, et al.
PD-L1 expression in small cell neuroendocrine carcinomas.
Eur J Cancer. 2015; 51(3):421-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Small cell lung cancer and extrapulmonary small cell carcinomas are the most aggressive type of neuroendocrine carcinomas. Clinical treatment relies on conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy; relapses are frequent. The PD-1/PD-L1/PD-L2 pathway is a major target of anti-tumour immunotherapy. Aberrant PD-L1 or PD-L2 expression may cause local immune-suppression. Here we investigated expression of PD-1 and its ligands by immunohistochemistry and RNA-seq in small cell carcinomas. PD-L1 and PD-1 protein expression were analysed in 94 clinical cases of small cell carcinomas (61 pulmonary, 33 extrapulmonary) by immunohistochemistry using two different monoclonal antibodies (5H1, E1L3N). RNA expression was profiled by RNA-seq in 43 clinical cases. None of the small cell carcinomas showed PD-L1 protein expression in tumour cells. PD-L1 and PD-1 expression was noticed in the stroma: Using immunohistochemistry, 18.5% of cases (17/92) showed PD-L1 expression in tumour-infiltrating macrophages and 48% showed PD-1 positive lymphocytes (45/94). RNA-seq showed moderate PD-L1 gene expression in 37.2% (16/43). PD-L1 was correlated with macrophage and T-cell markers. The second PD-1 ligand PD-L2 was expressed in 27.9% (12/43) and showed similar correlations. Thus, the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway seems activated in a fraction of small cell carcinomas. The carcinoma cells were negative in all cases, PD-L1 was expressed in tumour-infiltrating macrophages and was correlated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. Patients with stromal PD-L1/PD-L2 expression may respond to anti-PD-1 treatment. Thus, evaluation of the composition of the tumour microenvironment should be included in clinical trials. Besides conventional immunohistochemistry, RNA-seq seems suitable for detection of PD-L1/PD-L2 expression and might prove to be more sensitive.

Das R, Verma R, Sznol M, et al.
Combination therapy with anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1 leads to distinct immunologic changes in vivo.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(3):950-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2016 Related Publications
Combination therapy concurrently targeting PD-1 and CTLA-4 immune checkpoints leads to remarkable antitumor effects. Although both PD-1 and CTLA-4 dampen the T cell activation, the in vivo effects of these drugs in humans remain to be clearly defined. To better understand biologic effects of therapy, we analyzed blood/tumor tissue from 45 patients undergoing single or combination immune checkpoint blockade. We show that blockade of CTLA-4, PD-1, or combination of the two leads to distinct genomic and functional signatures in vivo in purified human T cells and monocytes. Therapy-induced changes are more prominent in T cells than in monocytes and involve largely nonoverlapping changes in coding genes, including alternatively spliced transcripts and noncoding RNAs. Pathway analysis revealed that CTLA-4 blockade induces a proliferative signature predominantly in a subset of transitional memory T cells, whereas PD-1 blockade instead leads to changes in genes implicated in cytolysis and NK cell function. Combination blockade leads to nonoverlapping changes in gene expression, including proliferation-associated and chemokine genes. These therapies also have differential effects on plasma levels of CXCL10, soluble IL-2R, and IL-1α. Importantly, PD-1 receptor occupancy following anti-PD-1 therapy may be incomplete in the tumor T cells even in the setting of complete receptor occupancy in circulating T cells. These data demonstrate that, despite shared property of checkpoint blockade, Abs against PD-1, CTLA-4 alone, or in combination have distinct immunologic effects in vivo. Improved understanding of pharmacodynamic effects of these agents in patients will support rational development of immune-based combinations against cancer.

Denkert C, von Minckwitz G, Brase JC, et al.
Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without carboplatin in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and triple-negative primary breast cancers.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(9):983-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Modulation of immunologic interactions in cancer tissue is a promising therapeutic strategy. To investigate the immunogenicity of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive and triple-negative (TN) breast cancers (BCs), we evaluated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and immunologically relevant genes in the neoadjuvant GeparSixto trial.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: GeparSixto investigated the effect of adding carboplatin (Cb) to an anthracycline-plus-taxane combination (PM) on pathologic complete response (pCR). A total of 580 tumors were evaluated before random assignment for stromal TILs and lymphocyte-predominant BC (LPBC). mRNA expression of immune-activating (CXCL9, CCL5, CD8A, CD80, CXCL13, IGKC, CD21) as well as immunosuppressive factors (IDO1, PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA4, FOXP3) was measured in 481 tumors.
RESULTS: Increased levels of stromal TILs predicted pCR in univariable (P < .001) and multivariable analyses (P < .001). pCR rate was 59.9% in LPBC and 33.8% for non-LPBC (P < .001). pCR rates ≥ 75% were observed in patients with LPBC tumors treated with PMCb, with a significant test for interaction with therapy in the complete (P = .002) and HER2-positive (P = .006), but not the TNBC, cohorts. Hierarchic clustering of mRNA markers revealed three immune subtypes with different pCR rates (P < .001). All 12 immune mRNA markers were predictive for increased pCR. The highest odds ratios (ORs) were observed for PD-L1 (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.34 to 1.86; P < .001) and CCL5 (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.23 to 1.62; P < .001).
CONCLUSION: Immunologic factors were highly significant predictors of therapy response in the GeparSixto trial, particularly in patients treated with Cb. After further standardization, they could be included in histopathologic assessment of BC.

Li J, Jie HB, Lei Y, et al.
PD-1/SHP-2 inhibits Tc1/Th1 phenotypic responses and the activation of T cells in the tumor microenvironment.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(3):508-18 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2016 Related Publications
Immune rejection of tumors is mediated by IFNγ production and T-cell cytolytic activity. These processes are impeded by PD-1, a coinhibitory molecule expressed on T cells that is elevated in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). PD-1 elevation may reflect T-cell exhaustion marked by decreased proliferation, production of type I cytokines, and poor cytolytic activity. Although anti-PD-1 antibodies enhance IFNγ secretion after stimulation of the T-cell receptor (TCR), the mechanistic link between PD-1 and its effects on T-cell help (Tc1/Th1 skewing) remains unclear. In prospectively collected cancer tissues, we found that TIL exhibited dampened Tc1/Th1 skewing and activation compared with peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). When PD-1 bound its ligand PD-L1, we observed a marked suppression of critical TCR target genes and Th1 cytokines. Conversely, PD-1 blockade reversed these suppressive effects of PD-1:PD-L1 ligation. We also found that the TCR-regulated phosphatase SHP-2 was expressed higher in TIL than in PBL, tightly correlating with PD-1 expression and negative regulation of TCR target genes. Overall, these results defined a PD-1/SHP-2/STAT1/T-bet signaling axis mediating the suppressive effects of PD-1 on Th1 immunity at tumor sites. Our findings argue that PD-1 or SHP-2 blockade will be sufficient to restore robust Th1 immunity and T-cell activation and thereby reverse immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment.

Markwick LJ, Riva A, Ryan JM, et al.
Blockade of PD1 and TIM3 restores innate and adaptive immunity in patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis.
Gastroenterology. 2015; 148(3):590-602.e10 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Susceptibility to bacterial infection is a feature of alcohol-related liver disease. Programmed cell death 1 (PD1), the T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing protein 3 (TIM3, also known as hepatitis A virus cellular receptor 2), and their respective ligands-CD274 (also known as PD ligand 1 [PDL1]) and galectin-9-are inhibitory receptors that regulate the balance between protective immunity and host immune-mediated damage. However, their sustained hyperexpression promotes immune exhaustion and paralysis. We investigated the role of these immune inhibitory receptors in driving immune impairments in patients with alcoholic liver disease.
METHODS: In a prospective study, we collected blood samples from 20 patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH), 16 patients with stable advanced alcohol-related cirrhosis, and 12 healthy individuals (controls). Whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells were assessed for expression of PD1, PDL1, TIM3, galectin-9, and Toll-like receptors on subsets of innate and adaptive immune effector cells. We measured antibacterial immune responses to lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin) using ELISpot assays, and used flow cytometry to quantify cytokine production, phagocytosis, and oxidative burst in the presence or absence of blocking antibodies against PD1 or TIM3.
RESULTS: Antibacterial innate and adaptive immune responses were greatly reduced in patients with AAH, compared with controls, and patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis had less severe dysfunctions in innate immune effector cells and preserved functional T-cell responses. Fewer T cells from patients with AAH produced interferon gamma in response to lipopolysaccharide, compared with controls. In addition, patients with AAH had greater numbers of interleukin 10-producing T cells, and reduced levels of neutrophil phagocytosis and oxidative burst in response to Escherichia coli stimulation, compared with controls. T cells from patients with AAH, but not alcohol-related cirrhosis, expressed higher levels of PD1 and PDL1, or TIM3 and galectin-9, than T cells from controls. Antibodies against PD1 and TIM3 restored T-cell production of interferon gamma, reduced the numbers of interleukin 10-producing T cells, and increased neutrophil antimicrobial activities. Circulating levels of endotoxin in plasma from patients with AAH caused over expression of immune inhibitory receptors on T cells via Toll-like receptor 4 binding to CD14(+) monocytes.
CONCLUSIONS: Antibacterial immune responses are impaired in patients with AAH. Lymphocytes from these patients express high levels of immune inhibitory receptors, produce lower levels of interferon gamma, and have increased IL10 production due to chronic endotoxin exposure. These effects can be reversed by blocking PD1 and TIM3, which increase the antimicrobial activities of T cells and neutrophils.

Johnston RJ, Comps-Agrar L, Hackney J, et al.
The immunoreceptor TIGIT regulates antitumor and antiviral CD8(+) T cell effector function.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(6):923-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumors constitute highly suppressive microenvironments in which infiltrating T cells are "exhausted" by inhibitory receptors such as PD-1. Here we identify TIGIT as a coinhibitory receptor that critically limits antitumor and other CD8(+) T cell-dependent chronic immune responses. TIGIT is highly expressed on human and murine tumor-infiltrating T cells, and, in models of both cancer and chronic viral infection, antibody coblockade of TIGIT and PD-L1 synergistically and specifically enhanced CD8(+) T cell effector function, resulting in significant tumor and viral clearance, respectively. This effect was abrogated by blockade of TIGIT's complementary costimulatory receptor, CD226, whose dimerization is disrupted upon direct interaction with TIGIT in cis. These results define a key role for TIGIT in inhibiting chronic CD8(+) T cell-dependent responses.

Kong LY, Wei J, Haider AS, et al.
Therapeutic targets in subependymoma.
J Neuroimmunol. 2014; 277(1-2):168-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Subependymomas are usually treated with surgical resection; however, no standard, defined alternative medical therapy is recommended for patients who are not surgical candidates, owing to a paucity of molecular, immunological, and genetic characterization. To address this, an ex vivo functional analysis of the immune microenvironment in subependymoma was conducted, a subependymoma cytokine/chemokine microarray was constructed for the evaluation of operational immune and molecular pathways, and a subependymoma cell line was derived and used to test a variety of cytotoxic agents that target operational pathways identified in subependymoma. We found that immune effectors are detectable within the microenvironment of subependymoma; however, marked immune suppression is not observed. The subependymoma tissue microarrays demonstrated tumor expression of p53, MDM2, HIF-1α, topoisomerase II-β, p-STAT3, and nucleolin, but not EGFRvIII, EphA2, IL-13RA2, CMV, CTLA-4, FoxP3, PD-1, PD-L1, EGFR, PDGF-α, PDGF-β, PDGFR-α, PDGFR-β, PTEN, IGFBP2, PI3K, MDM4, IDH1, mTOR, or Jak2. A topoisomerase inhibitor (WP744, IC50=0.83 μM) and a p-STAT3/HIF-1α inhibitor (WP1066, IC50=3.15 μM) demonstrated a growth inhibition of the subependymoma cell proliferation. Cumulatively, these data suggest that those agents that interfere with oncogenes operational in subependymoma may have clinical impact.

Tumeh PC, Harview CL, Yearley JH, et al.
PD-1 blockade induces responses by inhibiting adaptive immune resistance.
Nature. 2014; 515(7528):568-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2016 Related Publications
Therapies that target the programmed death-1 (PD-1) receptor have shown unprecedented rates of durable clinical responses in patients with various cancer types. One mechanism by which cancer tissues limit the host immune response is via upregulation of PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) and its ligation to PD-1 on antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells (termed adaptive immune resistance). Here we show that pre-existing CD8(+) T cells distinctly located at the invasive tumour margin are associated with expression of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune inhibitory axis and may predict response to therapy. We analysed samples from 46 patients with metastatic melanoma obtained before and during anti-PD-1 therapy (pembrolizumab) using quantitative immunohistochemistry, quantitative multiplex immunofluorescence, and next-generation sequencing for T-cell antigen receptors (TCRs). In serially sampled tumours, patients responding to treatment showed proliferation of intratumoral CD8(+) T cells that directly correlated with radiographic reduction in tumour size. Pre-treatment samples obtained from responding patients showed higher numbers of CD8-, PD-1- and PD-L1-expressing cells at the invasive tumour margin and inside tumours, with close proximity between PD-1 and PD-L1, and a more clonal TCR repertoire. Using multivariate analysis, we established a predictive model based on CD8 expression at the invasive margin and validated the model in an independent cohort of 15 patients. Our findings indicate that tumour regression after therapeutic PD-1 blockade requires pre-existing CD8(+) T cells that are negatively regulated by PD-1/PD-L1-mediated adaptive immune resistance.

Herbst RS, Soria JC, Kowanetz M, et al.
Predictive correlates of response to the anti-PD-L1 antibody MPDL3280A in cancer patients.
Nature. 2014; 515(7528):563-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of human cancer is a multistep process characterized by the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations that drive or reflect tumour progression. These changes distinguish cancer cells from their normal counterparts, allowing tumours to be recognized as foreign by the immune system. However, tumours are rarely rejected spontaneously, reflecting their ability to maintain an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1; also called B7-H1 or CD274), which is expressed on many cancer and immune cells, plays an important part in blocking the 'cancer immunity cycle' by binding programmed death-1 (PD-1) and B7.1 (CD80), both of which are negative regulators of T-lymphocyte activation. Binding of PD-L1 to its receptors suppresses T-cell migration, proliferation and secretion of cytotoxic mediators, and restricts tumour cell killing. The PD-L1-PD-1 axis protects the host from overactive T-effector cells not only in cancer but also during microbial infections. Blocking PD-L1 should therefore enhance anticancer immunity, but little is known about predictive factors of efficacy. This study was designed to evaluate the safety, activity and biomarkers of PD-L1 inhibition using the engineered humanized antibody MPDL3280A. Here we show that across multiple cancer types, responses (as evaluated by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours, version 1.1) were observed in patients with tumours expressing high levels of PD-L1, especially when PD-L1 was expressed by tumour-infiltrating immune cells. Furthermore, responses were associated with T-helper type 1 (TH1) gene expression, CTLA4 expression and the absence of fractalkine (CX3CL1) in baseline tumour specimens. Together, these data suggest that MPDL3280A is most effective in patients in which pre-existing immunity is suppressed by PD-L1, and is re-invigorated on antibody treatment.

Sioud M, Mobergslien A, Sæbøe-Larssen S
Immunosuppressive factor blockade in dendritic cells via siRNAs results in objective clinical responses.
Methods Mol Biol. 2015; 1218:269-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Over the past decade, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising new form of cancer treatment with the potential to eradicate tumor metastasis. However, its curative potential is in general limited by the existence of negative feedback mechanisms that control dendritic cells (DCs) and T-cell activation. For clinically effective immunity, there is a need of inhibiting the expression of these immune suppressors. This could enhance the activation of DCs, T cells, and natural killer cells, and might be beneficial for cancer immunotherapy. Among the immune inhibitory molecules expressed by DCs is indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an enzyme that conveys immunosuppressive effects by degrading tryptophan, an essential amino acid required for T-cell proliferation and survival. Depletion of tryptophan by IDO-positive DCs induces T-cell apoptosis and the conversion of naïve CD4+ T cells into regulatory T cells that further suppress antitumor immunity. Herein, we describe a protocol for in vitro synthesis of small interfering RNA against IDO and other immunosuppressive factors such as interleukin-10 and programmed cell death-1 ligands in order to reverse immune suppression mediated by DCs. Vaccination with IDO-silenced DC vaccines enhanced immune responses and antitumor immunity in cancer patients.

Zheng W, Xiao H, Liu H, Zhou Y
Expression of programmed death 1 is correlated with progression of osteosarcoma.
APMIS. 2015; 123(2):102-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating bodies of evidence indicate that immune dysregulation plays a key role in the development of osteosarcoma (OS). Programmed death 1 (PD-1) is a surface receptor expressed on activated and exhausted T cells, which mediate T-cell inhibition upon binding with its ligand. Researches on PD-1 and OS remain extremely limited. Here, we investigated whether PD-1 could be involved in the development of OS. Expression of PD-1 was measured by flow cytometry on peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from 56 OS cases and 42 healthy controls. Data revealed that percentages of PD-1 were significantly upregulated on both peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from OS patients (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). Patients with different tumor locations did not present obvious variations in PD-1 level. However, patients with metastasis showed significantly higher level of PD-1 on CD4+ T cells than those without metastasis (p < 0.001). Furthermore, PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells started to increase in stage III, whereas PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells started to increase in stage II. In addition, patients with pathological fracture were observed to have elevated PD-1 on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These data suggest that PD-1 is involved in the pathogenesis of OS, especially in the progression of disease.

Kedmi M, Avigdor A, Nagler A
Anti-PD-1-targeted therapies focusing on lymphatic malignancies: biological rationale, clinical challenges and opportunities.
Acta Haematol. 2015; 133(2):129-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer immunotherapy with tumor-directed antibodies has generally been very successful, while T-cell immunotherapy has been less effective. Some lymphoid malignancies can be cured with immunochemotherapy but nevertheless many patients relapse or progress in spite of maximal therapy. Both solid tumors and lymphoid malignancies develop mechanisms in order to escape destruction by the intact immune system. One such mechanism is mediated through immune checkpoints. PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1, which is expressed on activated T and B cells, natural killer cells and myeloid cells, is one of those checkpoints. This review focuses on the effect of PD-1 activation on lymphoid malignancies and its role as a therapeutic target.

Massi D, Brusa D, Merelli B, et al.
PD-L1 marks a subset of melanomas with a shorter overall survival and distinct genetic and morphological characteristics.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(12):2433-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a cell surface molecule that plays a critical role in suppressing immune responses, mainly through binding of the PD-1 receptor on T lymphocytes. PD-L1 may be expressed by metastatic melanoma (MM). However, its clinical and biological significance remains unclear. Here, we investigated whether expression of PD-L1 in MM identifies a biologically more aggressive form of the disease, carrying prognostic relevance.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: PD-L1 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry using two different antibodies in primary tumors and paired metastases from 81 melanoma patients treated at a single institution. Protein expression levels were correlated with PD-L1 mRNA, BRAF mutational status and clinical outcome. PD-L1(+) and PD-L1(-) subsets of the A375 cell line were stabilized in vitro and compared using gene expression profiling and functional assays. Results were confirmed using xenograft models.
RESULTS: PD-L1 membrane positivity was detected in 30/81 (37%) of patients. By multivariate analysis, Breslow thickness and PD-L1 membrane positivity were independent risk factors for melanoma-specific death {PD-L1 5% cutoff [hazard ratio (HR) 3.92, confidence interval (CI) 95% 1.61-9.55 P < 0.003], PD-L1 as continuous variable (HR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.04 P < 0.002)}. PD-L1 expression defined a subset of the BRAF-mutated A375 cell line characterized by a highly invasive phenotype and by enhanced ability to grow in xenograft models.
CONCLUSIONS: PD-L1 is an independent prognostic marker in melanoma. If confirmed, our clinical and experimental data suggest that PD-L1(+) melanomas should be considered a disease subset with distinct genetic and morpho-phenotypic features, leading to enhanced aggressiveness and invasiveness.

Zhang G, Li N, Zhang P, et al.
PD-1 mRNA expression is associated with clinical and viral profile and PD1 3'-untranslated region polymorphism in patients with chronic HBV infection.
Immunol Lett. 2014; 162(1 Pt A):212-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) is involved in hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs10204525 in the 3'-untranslated region (3' UTR) of PD1 gene was shown to be associated with the disease course of HBV infection. This study examined the associations of PD-1 mRNA expression with the clinical and viral profiles and the genotypes of rs10204525 in HBV infection. PD-1 mRNA levels in peripheral blood nuclear cells were determined by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PD1 rs10204525 was genotyped by bidirectional PCR amplification of specific alleles. The results showed that patients with chronic HBV infection had significantly elevated PD-1 mRNA levels than healthy controls. Patients with chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma had significantly higher PD-1 mRNA levels than healthy controls. HBeAg (+) patients had significantly higher PD-1 mRNA levels than HBeAg (-) patients (P<0.001). PD-1 mRNA levels were sequentially increased with the elevation of HBV DNA levels. In HBV patients, but not in healthy controls, PD-1 mRNA levels were sequentially decreased from rs10204525 genotypes AA, AG to GG and the levels in genotype AA were significantly higher than in genotype GG (P=0.039). These findings suggest that increased PD-1 expression may affect the disease course of chronic HBV infection by facilitating HBV viral replication, and this may at least partially relate to PD1 3' UTR polymorphism.

Choueiri TK, Fay AP, Gray KP, et al.
PD-L1 expression in nonclear-cell renal cell carcinoma.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(11):2178-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression in nonclear-cell RCC (non-ccRCC) and its association with clinical outcomes are unknown.
METHODS: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens were obtained from 101 patients with non-ccRCC. PD-L1 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in both tumor cell membrane and tumor-infiltrating mononuclear cells (TIMC). PD-L1 tumor positivity was defined as ≥5% tumor cell membrane staining. For PD-L1 expression in TIMC, a combined score based on the extent of infiltrate and percentage of positive cells was used. Baseline clinico-pathological characteristics and outcome data [time to recurrence (TTR) and overall survival (OS)] were correlated with PD-L1 staining.
RESULTS: Among 101 patients, 11 (10.9%) were considered PD-L1+ in tumor cells: 2/36 (5.6%) of chromophobe RCC, 5/50 (10%) of papillary RCC, 3/10 (30%) of Xp11.2 translocation RCC and 1/5 (20%) of collecting duct carcinoma. PD-L1 positivity (PD-L1+) in tumor cells was significantly associated with higher stage (P = 0.01) and grade (P = 0.03), as well as shorter OS (P < 0.001). On the other hand, PD-L1 positivity by TIMC was observed in 57 (56.4%) patients: 13/36 (36.1%) of chromophobe RCC, 30/50 (60%) of papillary RCC, 9/10 (90%) of Xp11.2 translocation RCC and 5/5 (100%) of collecting duct carcinoma. A trend toward shorter OS was observed in patients with PD-L1+ in TIMC (P = 0.08). PD-L1+ in both tumor cell membrane and TIMC cells were associated with shorter TTR (P = 0.02 and P = 0.03, respectively).
CONCLUSION: In non-ccRCC, patients with PD-L1+ tumors appear to have worse clinical outcomes, although only PD-L1 positivity in tumor cells is associated with higher tumor stage and grade.

Fend L, Gatard-Scheikl T, Kintz J, et al.
Intravenous injection of MVA virus targets CD8+ lymphocytes to tumors to control tumor growth upon combinatorial treatment with a TLR9 agonist.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(12):1163-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Effector T-cell access to tumor tissue is a limiting step for clinical efficacy of antigen-specific T cell-based immunotherapies. Ectopic mouse tumor models, in which a subcutaneously (s.c.) implanted tumor is treated with s.c. or intramuscular therapeutic immunization, may not be optimal for targeting effector T cells to an organ-borne tumor. We used an orthotopic renal carcinoma model to evaluate the impact of injection routes on therapeutic efficacy of a Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara viral vector expressing the human mucin 1 tumor-associated xeno-antigen (MVA-MUC1). We show that intravenous (i.v.) administration of MVA-MUC1 displayed enhanced efficacy when compared with s.c. injection. Therapeutic efficacy of MVA-MUC1 was further enhanced by i.v. injection of a TLR9 agonist. In all cases, infiltration of tumor-bearing kidney by CD8(+) lymphocytes was associated with control of tumor growth. Biodistribution experiments indicate that, following i.v. injection, MVA-encoded antigens are quickly expressed in visceral organs and, in particular, in splenic antigen-presenting cells, compared with those following s.c. injection. This appears to result in a faster generation of MUC1-specific CD8(+) T cells. Lymphocytes infiltrating tumor-bearing kidneys are characterized by an effector memory phenotype and express PD-1 and Tim3 immune checkpoint molecules. Therapeutic efficacy was associated with a modification of the tumor microenvironment toward a Th1-type immune response and recruitment of activated lymphocytes. This study supports the clinical evaluation of MVA-based immunotherapies via the i.v. route.

Braun NA, Celada LJ, Herazo-Maya JD, et al.
Blockade of the programmed death-1 pathway restores sarcoidosis CD4(+) T-cell proliferative capacity.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014; 190(5):560-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
RATIONALE: Effective therapeutic interventions for chronic, idiopathic lung diseases remain elusive. Normalized T-cell function is an important contributor to spontaneous resolution of pulmonary sarcoidosis. Up-regulation of inhibitor receptors, such as programmed death-1 (PD-1) and its ligand, PD-L1, are important inhibitors of T-cell function.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of PD-1 pathway blockade on sarcoidosis CD4(+) T-cell proliferative capacity.
METHODS: Gene expression profiles of sarcoidosis and healthy control peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed at baseline and follow-up. Flow cytometry was used to measure ex vivo expression of PD-1 and PD-L1 on systemic and bronchoalveolar lavage-derived cells of subjects with sarcoidosis and control subjects, as well as the effects of PD-1 pathway blockade on cellular proliferation after T-cell receptor stimulation. Immunohistochemistry analysis for PD-1/PD-L1 expression was conducted on sarcoidosis, malignant, and healthy control lung specimens.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Microarray analysis demonstrates longitudinal increase in PDCD1 gene expression in sarcoidosis peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed increased PD-L1 expression within sarcoidosis granulomas and lung malignancy, but this was absent in healthy lungs. Increased numbers of sarcoidosis PD-1(+) CD4(+) T cells are present systemically, compared with healthy control subjects (P < 0.0001). Lymphocytes with reduced proliferative capacity exhibited increased proliferation with PD-1 pathway blockade. Longitudinal analysis of subjects with sarcoidosis revealed reduced PD-1(+) CD4(+) T cells with spontaneous clinical resolution but not with disease progression.
CONCLUSIONS: Analogous to the effects in other chronic lung diseases, these findings demonstrate that the PD-1 pathway is an important contributor to sarcoidosis CD4(+) T-cell proliferative capacity and clinical outcome. Blockade of the PD-1 pathway may be a viable therapeutic target to optimize clinical outcomes.

Shi M, Roemer MG, Chapuy B, et al.
Expression of programmed cell death 1 ligand 2 (PD-L2) is a distinguishing feature of primary mediastinal (thymic) large B-cell lymphoma and associated with PDCD1LG2 copy gain.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2014; 38(12):1715-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary mediastinal (thymic) large B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are tumors with distinct clinical and molecular characteristics that are difficult to distinguish by histopathologic and phenotypic analyses alone. Programmed cell death 1 ligand 2 (PD-L2) is a cell surface protein expressed by activated macrophages and dendritic cells that binds PD-1 on T cells to inhibit immune responses. Amplification and/or translocations involving chromosome 9p24.1, a region that includes PDCD1LG2-encoding PD-L2, is a common event in PMBL but not DLBCL and suggests that PD-L2 expression might be a distinguishing feature of PMBL. We developed an assay for the immunohistochemical detection of PD-L2 protein in fixed biopsy specimens (PD-L2 IHC), which we applied to a cohort of PMBLs and DLBCLs. For a subset of cases, we correlated the results of PD-L2 IHC with PDCD1LG2 copy number (CN) as determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Twenty-three of 32 (72%) PMBLs but only 1 of 37 (3%) DLBCLs were positive by PD-L2 IHC. Among PMBLs with PDCD1LG2 CN gain, all were positive by PD-L2 IHC. One PMBL without CN gain was positive by PD-L2 IHC. When expressed in PMBL, PD-L2 was restricted to tumor cells and not detected on intratumoral macrophages. We conclude that PD-L2 protein is robustly expressed by the majority of PMBLs but only rare DLBCLs and often associated with PDCD1LG2 copy gain. PD-L2 IHC may serve as a useful ancillary test for distinguishing PMBL from DLBCL and for the rational selection of patients for therapeutic antibodies that inhibit PD-1 signaling.

Pal SK, Haas NB
Adjuvant therapy for renal cell carcinoma: past, present, and future.
Oncologist. 2014; 19(8):851-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
At the present time, the standard of care for patients who have received nephrectomy for localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is radiographic surveillance. With a number of novel targeted agents showing activity in the setting of metastatic RCC, there has been great interest in exploring the potential of the same agents in the adjuvant setting. Herein, we discuss the evolution of adjuvant trials in RCC, spanning from the immunotherapy era to the targeted therapy era. Pitfalls of current studies are addressed to provide a context for interpreting forthcoming results. Finally, we outline avenues to incorporate promising investigational agents, such as PD-1 (programmed death-1) inhibitors and MNNG transforming gene inhibitors, in future adjuvant trials.

Lutz ER, Wu AA, Bigelow E, et al.
Immunotherapy converts nonimmunogenic pancreatic tumors into immunogenic foci of immune regulation.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(7):616-31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered a "nonimmunogenic" neoplasm. Single-agent immunotherapies have failed to demonstrate significant clinical activity in PDAC and other "nonimmunogenic" tumors, in part due to a complex tumor microenvironment (TME) that provides a formidable barrier to immune infiltration and function. We designed a neoadjuvant and adjuvant clinical trial comparing an irradiated, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-secreting, allogeneic PDAC vaccine (GVAX) given as a single agent or in combination with low-dose cyclophosphamide to deplete regulatory T cells (Treg) as a means to study how the TME is altered by immunotherapy. Examination of resected PDACs revealed the formation of vaccine-induced intratumoral tertiary lymphoid aggregates in 33 of 39 patients 2 weeks after vaccine treatment. Immunohistochemical analysis showed these aggregates to be regulatory structures of adaptive immunity. Microarray analysis of microdissected aggregates identified gene-expression signatures in five signaling pathways involved in regulating immune-cell activation and trafficking that were associated with improved postvaccination responses. A suppressed Treg pathway and an enhanced Th17 pathway within these aggregates were associated with improved survival, enhanced postvaccination mesothelin-specific T-cell responses, and increased intratumoral Teff:Treg ratios. This study provides the first example of immune-based therapy converting a "nonimmunogenic" neoplasm into an "immunogenic" neoplasm by inducing infiltration of T cells and development of tertiary lymphoid structures in the TME. Post-GVAX T-cell infiltration and aggregate formation resulted in the upregulation of immunosuppressive regulatory mechanisms, including the PD-1-PD-L1 pathway, suggesting that patients with vaccine-primed PDAC may be better candidates than vaccine-naïve patients for immune checkpoint and other immunomodulatory therapies.

Shen JK, Cote GM, Choy E, et al.
Programmed cell death ligand 1 expression in osteosarcoma.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(7):690-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/09/2015 Related Publications
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.

Azim HA, Brohée S, Peccatori FA, et al.
Biology of breast cancer during pregnancy using genomic profiling.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(4):545-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer during pregnancy is rare and is associated with relatively poor prognosis. No information is available on its biological features at the genomic level. Using a dataset of 54 pregnant and 113 non-pregnant breast cancer patients, we evaluated the pattern of hot spot somatic mutations and did transcriptomic profiling using Sequenom and Affymetrix respectively. We performed gene set enrichment analysis to evaluate the pathways associated with diagnosis during pregnancy. We also evaluated the expression of selected cancer-related genes in pregnant and non-pregnant patients and correlated the results with changes occurring in the normal breast using a pregnant murine model. We finally investigated aberrations associated with disease-free survival (DFS). No significant differences in mutations were observed. Of the total number of patients, 18.6% of pregnant and 23% of non-pregnant patients had a PIK3CA mutation. Around 30% of tumors were basal, with no differences in the distribution of breast cancer molecular subtypes between pregnant and non-pregnant patients. Two pathways were enriched in tumors diagnosed during pregnancy: the G protein-coupled receptor pathway and the serotonin receptor pathway (FDR <0.0001). Tumors diagnosed during pregnancy had higher expression of PD1 (PDCD1; P=0.015), PDL1 (CD274; P=0.014), and gene sets related to SRC (P=0.004), IGF1 (P=0.032), and β-catenin (P=0.019). Their expression increased almost linearly throughout gestation when evaluated on the normal breast using a pregnant mouse model underscoring the potential effect of the breast microenvironment on tumor phenotype. No genes were associated with DFS in a multivariate model, which could be due to low statistical power. Diagnosis during pregnancy impacts the breast cancer transcriptome including potential cancer targets.

Ahearne MJ, Allchin RL, Fox CP, Wagner SD
Follicular helper T-cells: expanding roles in T-cell lymphoma and targets for treatment.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 166(3):326-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Follicular helper T-cells (Tfh cells) are a subset of CD4(+) T-cells that are essential for normal production of high affinity antibodies. Tfh cells characteristically produce IL21 and IL4 and show high expression of surface markers CXCR5, ICOS, PDCD1 (PD-1) and the chemokine CXCL13. In this review we will focus on the emerging links between Tfh cells and subtypes of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma: angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) and ~20% of peripheral T-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS) have surface marker features of Tfh cells and share a spectrum of genetic abnormalities. The recurrent genetic abnormalities associated with AITL include mutations in epigenetic modifiers such as TET2 and DNMT3A and the motility and adhesion gene, RHOA, is mutated in up to 70% of cases. ~20% of PTCL-NOS demonstrate RHOA mutations and have other characteristics suggesting an origin in Tfh cells. The recognition that specific genetic and surface markers are associated with malignant Tfh cells suggests that the next few years will bring major changes in diagnostic and treatment possibilities. For example, antibodies against IL21, PDCD1 and ICOS are already in clinical trials for autoimmune disease or other malignancies and antibodies against CXCL13 are in pre-clinical development.

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