Immunotherapies that target programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) signals are standard therapies for advanced-stage lung cancer, and the expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in cancer tissue predicts immunotherapy efficacy. Although programmed death-ligand 2 (PD-L2) is expressed in cancer cells and macrophages, similar to PD-L1, its significance in lung cancer is unclear. Double immunohistochemistry analyses using anti-PD-L2 and anti-PU.1 antibodies were carried out on tissue array sections from 231 cases of lung adenocarcinoma, and PD-L2 expression in macrophages was evaluated. High PD-L2 expression in macrophages was associated with longer progression-free survival (PFS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) and observed more often in females, non-heavy smokers, and patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and those at a lower disease stage. Significant correlations were found more frequently in patients with EGFR mutations. Cell culture studies revealed that cancer cell-derived soluble factors induced PD-L2 overexpression in macrophages, suggesting the involvement of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. The present findings suggest that PD-L2 expression in macrophages predicts PFS and CSS in lung adenocarcinoma without immunotherapy.
Keywords: Adenocarcinoma; Lung cancer; Macrophage; PD-L2; Tumor microenvironment.
© 2023. The Author(s) under exclusive licence to The Japanese Society for Clinical Molecular Morphology.