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The programmed death 1 (PD1)/PD1 ligand (PD-L1) axis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (EBV+ DLBCL, NOS). Here, we describe PD-L1 expression by EBV+ DLBCL, NOS in order to evaluate its possible contribution to the pathogenesis of this tumor. The study included 57 cases of EBV+ DLBCL, NOS. The median patient age was 69 years and 95% (n = 54) were aged > 45. Extranodal lesions were present in 39 (69%) at initial diagnosis. PD-L1 expression (mAb SP142-positive staining) was present in more than 5% of tumor cells in only six cases (11%), in clear contrast to the 77% reported in cases aged under 45 years. Among the PD-L1+ cases, three were nodal lesions. All six PD-L1+ cases progressed in the 3 years after diagnosis and four of the six patients died of the disease within 2 years. PD-L1+ cases had significantly shorter PFS (P = 0.002) and relatively short OS (P = 0.26), compared with PD-L1- cases. EBV+ DLBCL, NOS in the elderly infrequently expressed PD-L1 and had poor prognosis. PD-L1 expression in EBV+ DLBCL, NOS of the elderly sheds light on the pathogenetic role of immune senescence.


Taishi Takahara, Akira Satou, Eri Ishikawa, Kei Kohno, Seiichi Kato, Yuka Suzuki, Emiko Takahashi, Akiko Ohashi, Naoko Asano, Toyonori Tsuzuki, Shigeo Nakamura. Clinicopathological analysis of neoplastic PD-L1-positive EBV+ diffuse large B cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified, in a Japanese cohort. Virchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology. 2021 Mar;478(3):541-552

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PMID: 32803453

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