Prognostic role of programmed death-ligand 1 expression in patients with biliary tract cancer: a meta-analysis

Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Dec 27;11(24):12568-12580. doi: 10.18632/aging.102588. Epub 2019 Dec 27.


Previous studies investigated the prognostic role of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in patients with biliary tract cancer (BTC); however, the results remained controversial. Therefore, we conducted the current meta-analysis with the aim of clarifying the association between PD-L1 expression and prognosis as well as with several important clinicopathological features of BTC. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science for relevant studies. Studies that detected PD-L1 expression in tumor cells by using immunohistochemistry (IHC) were selected. Pooled hazard ratios (HRs) and pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to estimate the correlations. In total, 15 independent studies with 1,776 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled data demonstrated that high PD-L1 expression was associated with poor overall survival (n=15, HR=1.79, 95% CI=1.55-2.07, p<0.001). The correlation between PD-L1 expression and disease-free survival was not significant (n=6, HR=1.38, 95% CI=1.00-1.91, p=0.051). In addition, no significant correlation was observed between PD-L1 expression and clinical features in patients with BTC. Our study results showed that PD-L1 expression could play a pivotal role as an effective factor of poor prognosis in patients with BTC.

Keywords: PD-L1; biliary tract cancer; meta-analysis; survival.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • B7-H1 Antigen / genetics
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / genetics
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / genetics
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • CD274 protein, human