Frequencies and expression levels of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in circulating tumor RNA (ctRNA) in various cancer types Article

Ishiba, T, Hoffmann, AC, Usher, J et al. (2018). Frequencies and expression levels of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in circulating tumor RNA (ctRNA) in various cancer types . BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS, 500(3), 621-625. 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.04.120

cited authors

  • Ishiba, T; Hoffmann, AC; Usher, J; Elshimali, Y; Sturdevant, T; Dang, M; Jaimes, Y; Tyagi, R; Gonzales, R; Grino, M; Pinski, JK; Barzi, A; Raez, LE; Eberhardt, WE; Theegarten, D; Lenz, HJ; Uetake, H; Danenberg, PV; Danenberg, K



  • Background: Precision medicine and prediction of therapeutic response requires monitoring potential biomarkers before and after treatment. Liquid biopsies provide noninvasive prognostic markers such as circulating tumor DNA and RNA. Circulating tumor RNA (ctRNA) in blood is also used to identify mutations in genes of interest, but additionally, provides information about relative expression levels of important genes. In this study, we analyzed PD-L1 expression in ctRNA isolated from various cancer types. Tumors inhibit antitumor response by modulating the immune checkpoint proteins programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and its cognate receptor PD1. The expression of these genes has been implicated in evasion of immune response and resistance to targeted therapies. Methods: Blood samples were collected from gastric (GC), colorectal (CRC), lung (NSCLC), breast (BC), prostate cancer (PC) patients, and a healthy control group. ctRNA was purified from fractionated plasma, and following reverse transcription, levels of PD-L1 expression were analyzed using qPCR. Results: PD-L1 expression was detected in the plasma ctRNA of all cancer types at varying frequencies but no PD-L1 mRNA was detected in cancer-free individuals. The frequencies of PD-L1 expression were significantly different among the various cancer types but the median relative PD-L1 expression values were not significantly different. In 12 cases where plasma and tumor tissue were available from the same patients, there was a high degree of concordance between expression of PD-L1 protein in tumor tissues and PD-L1 gene expression in plasma, and both methods were equally predictive of response to nivolumab. Conclusions: PD-L1 mRNA can be detected and quantitated in ctRNA of cancer patients. These results pave the way for further studies aimed at determining whether monitoring the levels of PD-L1 mRNA in blood can identify patients who are most likely to benefit from the conventional treatment.

publication date

  • June 7, 2018

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 621

end page

  • 625


  • 500


  • 3