Immunohistochemical analysis and prognostic significance of PD-L1, PD-1, and CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in Ewing’s sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT)

Isidro Machado, Jose Antonio López-Guerrero, Katia Scotlandi, Piero Picci, Antonio Llombart-Bosch

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Ewing’s sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) are aggressive neoplasms with scant tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. We analyzed the immunohistochemical (IHC) expression of PD-L1 and PD-1 and their prognostic significance in clinically localized neoplasms in a cohort of 370 ESFT. Slides prepared from tissue microarrays were stained for PD-L1, PD-1, and CD8. Membranous/cytoplasmic staining over 5% of tumor cells was regarded as positive for PD-L1 and PD-1. Prognostic analysis was done considering only clinically localized tumors (n = 217). PD-L1 expression was present in 19% of ESFT, while PD-1 was expressed in 26%. Forty-eight percent of tumors were negative and 12% were positive for both PD-L1 and PD-1. Metastatic tumors displayed higher expression of PD-L1 (p < 0.0001). Histological subtypes were not correlated with PD-L1 or PD-1 positivity. ESFT with elevated proliferation index (Ki-67) were associated with higher PD-L1 expression (p = 0.049). Regarding prognosis, no significant association was found between PD-L1 expression and progression-free survival (PFS) or overall survival (OS), whereas lack of PD-1 expression in tumor cells was correlated with both poor PFS (p = 0.02) and poor OS (p = 0.004). Tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T lymphocytes were observed in 15.4% of ESFT with informative results (347 tumors). No correlation was found between tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T lymphocytes and ESFT histological subtypes, tumor location, or PD-1 and PD-L1 expression, nor with PFS (p = 0.473) or OS (p = 0.087). PD-L1 expression was not significantly related to prognosis. PD-1 was expressed in 26% of ESFT tumor cells and may have prognostic and therapeutic implications. CD8 expression in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes was not related to prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-824
Number of pages10
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018



  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PD-1
  • PD-L1
  • Prognostic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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