Prognostic role of PD-L1 expression in patients with salivary gland carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2022 Jul 26;17(7):e0272080. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272080. eCollection 2022.


Background: Although programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has been recognized as a potential marker in several cancers, the relationship between PD-L1 expression and survival in patients with salivary gland carcinoma (SGC) has remained unclear. We aimed to evaluate the association of PD-L1 expression with clinicopathological features and prognosis in SGC patients.

Methods: The databases Ovid Medline, PubMed, Scopus, and EMBASE were searched for relevant studies that detected PD-L1 expression in SGC. The meta-analysis was performed according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA), and the reporting recommendations for tumor marker prognostic studies (REMARK) was used to assess the quality of research eligible for this meta-analysis. Included studies were assessed using the Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) tool. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to estimate the correlation between PD-L1 expression and clinicopathological features. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CI were applied to assess the association between PD-L1 expression and survival outcomes of patients.

Results: A total of ten studies (including 952 patients with SGC) were evaluated. The meta-analysis showed that positive PD-L1 expression in SGC was significantly associated with male patients, older age, Tumor stage, lymph node metastasis, high pathological grade, and non-adenoid cystic carcinoma subtype. The pooled data demonstrated that high PD-L1 expression was associated with poor overall survival and disease-free survival. There was no significant correlation between PD-L1 expression and progression-free survival or disease-specific survival of SGC patients.

Conclusion: According to the meta-analysis, positive PD-L1 expression may play an important role as an effective marker of poor prognosis in patients with SGC. However, large-scale, prospective investigations are still needed to confirm the findings. The assessment of PD-L1 expression may aid in the personalized management of SGC.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Carcinoma*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism


  • B7-H1 Antigen

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.