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Endometrioid carcinoma (EC) is classified into 3 histological subtypes; Grade 1 (G1), Grade 2 (G2), and Grade 3 (G3). Although the prognosis is relatively good in G1, some G1 cases are more aggressive, which are called G1 with MELF (microcystic, elongated, and fragmented) pattern. Current therapy, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, is not effective in MELF, and more effective treatment is needed. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) performed an integrated genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analysis and classified EC into 4 groups: DNA polymerase epsilon (POLE) ultramutated, microsatellite instability hypermutated, copy-number low, and copy-number high, in which MELF was associated with microsatellite instability hypermutated. Microsatellite instability is detected in a wide variety of cancer, and PD-1 (programmed cell death 1) and PD-L1 (programmed cell death-ligand 1) are received a lot of attention as a therapeutic target. To date, no studies have been focused on PD-L1 expression in EC with MELF pattern. Then we performed immunohistochemical analysis of the distribution of PD-L1 expressing cells in G1 with MELF pattern. In cases of G1 with MELF pattern, tumor cells expressed PD-L1 significantly higher in invasive front area than in surface area. We often found lymphovascular invasion of PD-L1 expressing tumor cells. PD-L1 expressing tumor cells in MELF would be the cause of recurrence or lymph node metastasis. Moreover, in most G1 cases with MELF pattern, PD-L1 was expressed in inflammatory cells as well as tumor cells in invasive front area. PD-L1 expression in both tumor and immune cells contribute to immune suppression and both cells could be sensitive to therapeutic agents targeting the PD-L1/PD-1 axis. Therefore, significant therapeutic effect can be expected by applying PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy to the treatment of G1 with MELF. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


Shinichiro Tahara, Masaharu Kohara, Kazuaki Sato, Eiichi Morii. Strong expression of PD-L1 in invasive front of MELF pattern in endometrioid carcinoma. Pathology, research and practice. 2022 Jan;229:153699

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PMID: 34929601

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