Document Type : Original Research
Department of Pathology, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysuru, Karnataka, India
Background & Objective: Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) is a highly frequent malignancy worldwide and is also the leading cause of death. The prognosis for individuals with HNSCC remains dismal, with a five-year survival rate of less than 50%. The novel anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy is found to be promising, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) has been established as a reliable method for patient stratification. We intend to evaluate the prognostic significance of the expression of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) in HNSCC and determine its association with clinicopathological variables.
Methods: A total of 50 cases of biopsy-confirmed HNSCC were studied in a tertiary hospital between Dec 2020 and June 2022. The specimens were tested for PD-L1 IHC expression with antibody clone CAL-10 (Biocare) and scored by Combined Positive Score (CPS). The association between PD-L1 expression and clinicopathological variables was evaluated.
Results: PD-L1 was positive in 92% of the cases, and a significant association (P= 0.024) was seen between PD-L1 expression and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). PD-L1 did not show any significant association with patient demographics, tumor site, grade, or stage.
Conclusion: In the present study, evaluation of the immunohistochemical expression of PD-L1 on the tumor cells and TILs in HNSCC revealed a high prevalence of PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 IHC studies for patient selection for immunotherapy would be a promising technique. Frequent PD-L1 expression in tumors with significant TILs may be useful in identifying patients who may benefit from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy.
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