J Cancer 2021; 12(7):2065-2072. doi:10.7150/jca.53119 This issue

Research Paper

Co-expression of PD-L1 and HIF-1α predicts poor prognosis in Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer after surgery

Hongmei Zheng, Yue Ning, Yuting Zhan, Sile Liu, Yang Yang, Qiuyuan Wen, Songqing Fan

Department of Pathology, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, 410011, China.

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Zheng H, Ning Y, Zhan Y, Liu S, Yang Y, Wen Q, Fan S. Co-expression of PD-L1 and HIF-1α predicts poor prognosis in Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer after surgery. J Cancer 2021; 12(7):2065-2072. doi:10.7150/jca.53119. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v12p2065.htm

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Graphic abstract

Purpose: PD-L1 is highly expressed in multiple cancers and suppresses anticancer immunity. HIF-1α, as a vital transcription factor, could regulate the proliferation, metastasis, and apoptosis of cancer cells. The aim of this study was to explore the correlation between PD-L1 and HIF-1α protein and further estimate its clinicopathological/prognostic impact on NSCLC patients. Methods: In this study, expression of PD-L1 and HIF-1α protein was detected by immunohistochemistry in tissue microarrays of NSCLC and non-cancerous tissues. Results: Expression of PD-L1 and HIF-1α protein was evidently elevated in NSCLC tissues compared with non-cancerous control lung tissues (both P<0.05). Also, PD-L1 was higher in male, lung SCC patients with lymph node metastasis (all P<0.05). There was a positive link between PD-L1 and HIF-1α in NSCLC (r=0.177, P=0.005). What's more, overall survival of lung ADC patients had to do with PD-L1 and clinical stage, while that of SCC patients was related to HIF-1α, pathological grade and LNM status (all P<0.05). Furthermore, multivariate analysis confirmed that PD-L1 and HIF-1α were considered to be independent prognostic factors for NSCLC patients (both P<0.05). Conclusion: PD-L1 and HIF-1α may serve as attractive independent worse prognostic biomarkers for NSCLC patients and the combined evaluation of PD-L1 and HIF-1α may also be valuable for prognosis judgment. Additionally, expression of PD-L1 was positively correlated with HIF-1α, which may provide evidences for a novel combinational therapy targeting PD-L1 and HIF-1α in NSCLC patients.

Keywords: PD-L1, HIF-1α, biomarkers, Non-small cell lung cancer.