High PDL1/PDL2 gene expression correlates with worse outcome in primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma

Blood Adv. 2023 Dec 12;7(23):7331-7345. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2023011169.


Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) is an uncommon entity of aggressive B-cell lymphoma with an unusually good prognosis, except for 10-15% of chemotherapy-refractory cases. To identify earlier these higher risk patients, we performed molecular characterization of a retrospective multicenter cohort of patients treated with firstline immunochemotherapy. The traits of the patients with gene-expression profiling data (n = 120) were as follows: median age of 34 years (range, 18-67 years); female sex, 58.3%; elevated lactate dehydrogenase, 82.5%; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score of 0 to 1, 85.7%; Ann Arbor stage I/II, 55%; International Prognostic Index score of 1 to 2, 64.4%; and median metabolic tumor volume, 290.4 cm3 (range, 15.7-1147.5 cm3). Among all 137 markers tested for correlation with survival data, only programmed death-ligand (PDL) 1 and PDL2 expression showed a prognostic impact. Overall, both PDL1 and PDL2 genes were highly expressed in 37 patients (30.8%; PDL1high/PDL2high). The baseline clinical characteristics of patients with PDL1high/PDL2high were similar to those of other patients. In univariate analysis, PDL1high/PDL2high status was associated with poor progression-free survival (PFS) (hazard ratio [HR], 4.292) and overall survival (OS; HR, 8.24). In multivariate analysis, PDL1high/PDL2high status was an independent prognostic factor of adverse outcomes (PFS: HR, 5.22; OS: HR, 10.368). We validated these results in an independent cohort of 40 patients and confirmed the significant association between PDL1high/PDL2high status and inferior PFS (HR, 6.11). High PDL1/PDL2 gene expression defines a population with strong immune privilege and poorer outcomes from standard chemotherapy who might benefit from firstline checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Young Adult