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Clinicopathological evaluation of PD-L1 expression and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte infiltrates across intracranial molecular subgroups of ependymomas: are these tumors potential candidates for immune check-point blockade?


Nambirajan A, Malgulwar PB, Sharma A, Boorgula MT, Doddamani R, Singh M, Suri V, Sarkar C, Sharma MC

Immune check-point blockade (ICB) targeting programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1)/programmed death-1 (PD-1) axis has created paradigm shift in cancer treatment. 'ST-RELA' and 'PF-A' molecular subgroups of ependymomas (EPN) show poor outcomes. We aimed to understand the potential candidature of EPNs for ICB. Supratentorial (ST) Grade II/III EPNs were classified into ST-RELA, ST-YAP, and ST-not otherwise specified (NOS), based on RELA/YAP1 fusion transcripts and/or L1CAM and p65 protein expression. Posterior fossa (PF) EPNs were classified into PF-A and PF-B based on H3K27me3 expression. Immunohistochemistry for PD-L1 and CD8 was performed. RelA protein enrichment at PDL1 promoter site was analysed by chromatin immunoprecipitation-qPCR (ChIP-qPCR). Eighty-three intracranial EPNs were studied. Median tumor infiltrating CD8 + cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) density was 6/mm, and was higher in ST-EPNs (median 10/mm) as compared to PF-EPNs (median 3/mm). PD-L1 expression was noted in 17/83 (20%) EPNs, including 12/31 ST-RELA and rare ST-NOS (2/12), PF-A (2/25) and PF-B (1/13) EPNs. Twelve EPNs (14%) showed high CTL density and concurrent PD-L1 positivity, of which majority (10/12) were ST-RELA EPNs. Enrichment of RelA protein was seen at PDL1 promoter. Increased CTL densities and upregulation of PD-L1 in ST-RELA ependymomas suggests potential candidature for immunotherapy.

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Published
August, 2019

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