Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) plays a key role for immune evasion, contributing to carcinogenesis and tumor progression. Tonsillar squamous cell carcinomas (TSCCs) are the most common human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancers and they frequently present with locally advanced diseases and cervical metastases, which are associated with poor prognoses. Recent studies have reported the close association between PD-L1 and HPV in head and neck SCCs. However, its clinical and prognostic significances in TSCCs remain controversial.
Immunohistochemical analysis of PD-L1 was performed in 79 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks of surgically resected specimens. Peptide nucleic acid-based HPV chip test was used for detection of HPV.
PD-L1 expression was observed in 19 cases (24.1%), and clinicopathological features such as invasion to base of tongue, lymphatic invasion, infiltrative tumor border, younger age (
PD-L1 overexpression may predict a poor prognosis and a high risk of recurrence in TSCC patients, especially in HPV-positive tonsil cancers, implying PD-L1 could be potent candidates for a new prognostic and predictive biomarker in tonsil cancers.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.