Background: The immune response in melanoma patients is locally affected by presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), generally divided into brisk, nonbrisk, and absent. Several studies have shown that a greater presence of TILs, especially brisk, in primary melanoma is associated with a better prognosis and higher survival rate.
Patients and methods: We investigated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) the correlation between PD-1 levels in plasma and the presence/absence of TILs in 28 patients with metastatic melanoma.
Results: Low plasma PD-1 levels were correlated with brisk TILs in primary melanoma, whereas intermediate values correlated with the nonbrisk TILs, and high PD-1 levels with absent TILs. Although the low number of samples did not allow us to obtain a statistically significant correlation between the plasma PD-1 levels and the patients' overall survival depending on the absence/presence of TILs, the median survival of patients having brisk type TILs was 5 months higher than that of patients with absent and nonbrisk TILs.
Conclusions: This work highlights the ability of measuring the plasma PD-1 levels in order to predict the prognosis of patients with untreated metastatic melanoma without a BRAF mutation at the time of diagnosis.
Keywords: brisk TILs; immune response; melanoma; plasma PD-1; plasma PD-L1; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.