Undifferentiated carcinoma with osteoclast-like giant cells (UCOGC), a variant of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), has a striking genetic similarity to PDAC but a significantly improved overall survival. We hypothesize that this difference could be due to the immune response to the tumor, and as such, we investigated the expression of PD-1, PD-L1, and CD163 in a series of UCOGC. To this aim, 27 pancreatic UCOGCs (11 pure and 16 PDAC-associated), 5 extrapancreatic tumors with osteoclast-like giant cells and 10 pancreatic anaplastic carcinomas were immunostained using antibodies against PD-1, PD-L1, and CD163. In pancreatic UCOGCs, PD-L1 was expressed in neoplastic cells of 17 (63%) of 27 cases, more often in cases with an associated PDAC (P =.04). Expression of PD-L1 was associated with poor prognosis, confirmed by multivariate analysis: patients with PD-L1–positive UCOGCs had a risk of all-cause mortality that was 3 times higher than did patients with PD-L1–negative UCOGCs (hazard ratio, 3.397; 95% confidence interval, 1.023-18.375; P =.034). PD-L1 expression on tumor cells was also associated with aberrant P53 expression (P =.035). PD-1 was expressed on rare lymphocytes in 12 UCOGCs (44.4%), mainly located at the tumor periphery. CD163 was expressed on histiocytes, with a diffuse and strong staining pattern in all UCOGCs. Extrapancreatic tumors with osteoclast-like giant cells showed very similar staining patterns for the same proteins. Anaplastic carcinomas have some similarities to UCOGCs, but PD-L1 has no prognostic roles. Our results may have important implications for immunotherapeutic strategies in UCOGCs; these tumors may also represent a model for future therapeutic approaches against PDAC.
- Pancreatic cancer
- Tumor-associated macrophages
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine