Esophageal adenocarcinoma is an increasingly common disease with a dismal 5-year survival rate of 10% to 15%. In the first systematic evaluation of the PD-1 pathway in esophageal adenocarcinoma, we identify expression of PD-L2 in cancer cells in 51.7% of esophageal adenocarcinomas. Epithelial PD-L1 was expressed on only 2% of cases, although PD-L1+ immune cells were observed in 18% of esophageal adenocarcinomas. We also evaluated expression in the precursor lesion of esophageal adenocarcinoma, Barrett's esophagus, which emerges following gastric reflux–induced esophageal inflammation, and found PD-L2 expression in Barrett's esophagus but not in non–Barrett's esophagus esophagitis. Because the progression from squamous esophagitis to Barrett's esophagus is accompanied by a transition from a TH1 to TH2 immune response, we hypothesized that the TH2 cytokines IL4/IL13 could contribute to PD-L2 induction. We confirmed that these cytokines can augment PD-L2 expression in esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines. These results suggest that the inflammatory environment in Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma may contribute to the expression of PD-L2. Furthermore, the potential for PD-1 receptor blockade to be effective in esophageal adenocarcinomas with epithelial PD-L2 or immune cell PD-L1 expression should be evaluated in clinical trials. Cancer Immunol Res; 1–7. ©2015 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received February 11, 2015.
- Revision received June 11, 2015.
- Accepted June 11, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.