JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in melanoma brain metastases

Anna Sophie Berghoff, Gerda Ricken, Georg Widhalm, Orsolya Rajky, Karin Dieckmann, Peter Birner, Rupert Bartsch, Christoph Höller, Matthias Preusser
Histopathology 2015, 66 (2): 289-99
25314639

AIMS: In this study we aimed to characterize immune infiltrates and expression of programmed death 1 (PD-1) and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in a series of melanoma BM to provide a basis for experimental therapy using immune checkpoint inhibitors.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We investigated expression of PD-1, PD-L1, CD3, CD8, CD45RO, forkhead box protein 3 (FoxP3), CD20 and BRAF V600E by immunohistochemistry in melanoma BM samples. Forty-three specimens [27 of which (62.8%) were BRAF V600E-positive] were available. CD3(+) tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) were evident in 33 specimens (76.7%), CD8(+) in 39 (90.7%), CD45RO(+) in 32 (74.4%), PD-1(+) in 27 (62.8%), FoxP3(+) in 21 (48.8%) and CD20(+) TILs in 19 (44.2%). Tumour PD-L1 expression was observed in 22 specimens (51.1%), and in nine of these (40.9%) expression was observed in more than 5% of tumour cells. PD-L1 expression was associated with higher density of PD-1(+) (P < 0.001), CD3(+) (P = 0.014) and FoxP3(+) (P < 0.001) TIL infiltration. Density of CD3(+) TILs was associated with density of CD8(+) (P < 0.001), PD-1(+) (P < 0.001) and CD45RO(+) (P < 0.001) TILs. PD-L1 expression or PD-1(+) , CD3(+) , CD8(+) or CD45RO(+) TILs density did not correlate with BRAF V600E status, previous systemic therapy or survival (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Melanoma BM showed considerable lymphocytic infiltrates and expression of PD-L1 in the majority of investigated specimens, with high PD-L1 expression found predominantly in regions of abundant inflammation. Our data indicate that clinical studies should investigate the value of checkpoint inhibitors in patients with melanoma BMs.

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