Expression of PD-1 and PD-L1 in anaplastic thyroid cancer patients treated with multimodal therapy: Results from a retrospective study

Ashish V. Chintakuntlawar, Kandelaria M. Rumilla, Carin Y. Smith, Sarah M. Jenkins, Robert L. Foote, Jan L. Kasperbauer, John C. Morris, Mabel Ryder, Samer Alsidawi, Crystal Hilger, Keith C. Bible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Context: Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is rare and a highly fatal malignancy. The role of programmed death-1 (PD-1) and programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) as prognostic and/or predictive markers in ATC is unknown. Objective: Multimodal therapy offers the best chance at tumor control. The objective of this study was to detect potential associations of PD-1/PD-L1 axis variables with outcome data in ATC. Design: Retrospective study of a uniformly treated cohort. Setting: Single institution retrospective cohort study. Patients or Other Participants: Sixteen patients who received intensity-modulated radiation therapy (15 had preceding surgery) were studied. Main Outcome Measure: Patients treated with multimodal therapy were followed and assessed for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Results: All samples demonstrated PD-1 expression in inflammatory cells whereas tumor cells were primarily negative. PD-L1 was expressed on ATC tumor cells in most samples and showed mainly membranous staining. High PD-1 expression (.40% staining) in inflammatory cells was associated with worse overall survival (OS; hazard ratio, 3.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.00 to 12.96; P , 0.05) and trended toward worse PFS, whereas high PD-L1 expression in tumor cells (.33% staining) trended toward worse PFS and OS. Conclusion: PD-1/PD-L1 pathway proteins are highly expressed in ATC tumor samples and appear to represent predictive markers of PFS and OS in multimodality-treated ATC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1950
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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