Assessment of tumoral PD-L1 expression and intratumoral CD8+ T cells in urothelial carcinoma

Sheila F. Faraj, Enrico Munari, Gunes Guner, Janis Taube, Robert Anders, Jessica Hicks, Alan Meeker, Mark P. Schoenberg, Trinity Bivalacqua, Charles Drake, George J. Netto

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64 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder in relationship with tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tissue microarrays were prepared from 56 cystectomy specimens performed at our hospital (1994-2002). PD-L1 immunoexpression was assessed using the murine antihuman PD-L1 monoclonal antibody 5H1. Extent of membranous PD-L1 expression was assigned in each spot. Spots showing ≥5% expression were considered positive. Average PD-L1 expression per tumor was also calculated (5% positivity cutoff). "High CD8 density" was defined as the presence of ≥60 CD8+ intraepithelial lymphocytes per high power field in a given spot. A tumor was considered high density if ≥50% of its spots were of high density.

RESULTS: PD-L1 expression was positive in approximately 20% of tumors. None of the benign urothelium spots expressed PD-L1. High CD8 density was observed in approximately 20% of cases. CD8 density did not correlate with PD-L1 expression. Overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) rates were 14% and 28%, respectively (median follow-up, 31.5 months). PD-L1 expression was associated with age at cystectomy (P = .01). Remaining clinicopathologic parameters were not associated with PD-L1 expression or CD8 density. High CD8 density was associated with favorable OS (P = .02) and DSS (P = .02). The same was true when CD8 density was adjusted for demographic and clinicopathologic parameters. There was no correlation between PD-L1 expression and outcome.

CONCLUSION: High intratumoral CD8+ T cell density is associated with better OS and DSS in invasive urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. We found no correlation between PD-L1 expression and outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

Cite this

Faraj, S. F., Munari, E., Guner, G., Taube, J., Anders, R., Hicks, J., Meeker, A., Schoenberg, M. P., Bivalacqua, T., Drake, C., & Netto, G. J. (2015). Assessment of tumoral PD-L1 expression and intratumoral CD8+ T cells in urothelial carcinoma. Urology, 85(3).