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PD-1 Expression in Pre-Treatment Follicular Lymphoma Predicts the Risk of Subsequent High-Grade Transformation

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Purpose: Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent, yet generally incurable neoplasia with a median survival exceeding 10 years. However, a subset of FL patients experiences histological transformation (HT) to a more aggressive lymphoma, in the majority of cases to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). This affects both the clinical course and the prognostic outcome, resulting in a markedly reduced survival after transformation. Thus, early risk stratification and prediction of patients at risk of HT would be highly valuable in the clinical setting. Here, we investigated the potential of the immune inhibitory programmed death 1 (PD-1) receptor as a biomarker predictive of HT.

Patients and Methods: Immunohistochemical staining and quantification by digital image analysis of PD-1 was performed on diagnostic tumor-tissue samples from FL patients with and without subsequent transformation (n=34 and n=46, respectively), and on paired samples from the transformed lymphoma (n=34).

Results: At the time of initial FL diagnosis, samples from patients with subsequent HT had significantly higher tumor-tissue expression of PD-1 compared with diagnostic FL samples from patients without subsequent HT (p=0.010). At the time of transformation, PD-1 expression was significantly reduced (p<0.001). No difference was observed in intra-follicular PD-1 expression at FL diagnosis between samples from patients with or without HT; however, high intra-follicular levels of PD-1 were associated with significantly shorter transformation-free survival times (p<0.043).

Conclusion: Our data suggest that pre-treatment tumor-tissue PD-1 expression already predicts the risk of subsequent transformation to DLBCL, as early as the time of FL diagnosis.

TidsskriftOncoTargets and Therapy
Sider (fra-til)481-489
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021

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