The programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) pathway has been suggested to play an important role in tumor immune escape. We evaluated changes in PD-1 expression before and after Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy and its prognostic significance in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients.
We examined 78 paired tissue samples of NMIBC in tumors just before BCG therapy and BCG-relapsing tumors, defined as recurrence after achieving disease-free status by initial BCG instillations for 6 months. We counted PD-1-positive cells, and PD-1 expression was defined as high when the number of PD-1-positive cells was more than 18 under ×200 magnification.
The median number of PD-1-positive cells in tumors just before BCG therapy was 3.5, significantly lower than that in BCG-relapsing tumors (17.0, p < 0.001). High PD-1 expression was observed in 20 tumors just before BCG therapy (25.6%) and 36 BCG-relapsing tumors (46.2%). Fifty-two cases (66.6%) showed an increase in the number of PD-1-positive cells in BCG-relapsing tumors. High PD-1 expression in BCG-relapsing tumors was independently associated with subsequent tumor recurrence (p = 0.011) and stage progression (p = 0.033). The 5-year recurrence-free and progression-free survival rates were 40.7 and 74.1% in patients with high PD-1 expression in BCG-relapsing tumors, significantly lower than those in their counterparts (72.9 and 94.1%, respectively).
PD-1 was induced by BCG therapy, and its expression in BCG-relapsing tumors may be an important indicator for predicting worse clinical outcomes in NMIBC patients treated with BCG therapy.
Annals of surgical oncology. 2018 May 01 [Epub ahead of print]
Keishiro Fukumoto, Eiji Kikuchi, Shuji Mikami, Nozomi Hayakawa, Kazuhiro Matsumoto, Naoya Niwa, Mototsugu Oya
Department of Urology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan., Department of Urology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. ., Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.