Expression of programmed death ligand 1 and 2 in adrenocortical cancer tissues: An exploratory study

John F. Tierney, Alyx Vogle, Jennifer Poirier, Irene M. Min, Brendan Finnerty, Rasa Zarnegar, Sam G. Pappas, Theresa Scognamiglio, Ritu Ghai, Paolo Gattuso, Thomas J. Fahey, Xavier M. Keutgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Inhibition of the interaction of programmed death 1 with programmed death ligand 1 and 2 has been used successfully for treatment of multiple advanced cancers, but expression has not been studied in adrenocortical carcinoma. In this study, we investigated programmed death ligand 1 and 2 expression in adrenocortical carcinoma to determine the potential usefulness of checkpoint inhibitors in these malignant neoplasms. Methods: A total of 56 tissue samples from patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (34) and benign adrenal tissues (22) were identified. Immunohistochemistry was performed for programmed death ligand 1, programmed death ligand 2, and CD8 and scored for membranous staining on adrenal and stromal tissue according to the immunoreactive score and absolute percentage, respectively. Descriptive statistics, a Mann-Whitney U test, and Fisher exact tests were calculated. Results: In total, 15 adrenocortical carcinoma (44%) stained positive for programmed death ligand 2 and 1 adrenocortical carcinoma for programmed death ligand 1 (P =.03). Adrenocortical carcinoma samples were more likely to express programmed death ligand 2 on tumor cells or in stromal tissues than benign samples (OR = 2.3, P =.03). There was no relationship between programmed death ligand 2 and CD8 expression (P =.08). There were also no relationships between programmed death ligand 2 or CD8 expression and tumor characteristics. Conclusion: Programmed death ligand 2, but not programmed death ligand 1, is expressed commonly in adrenocortical carcinoma samples. The utility of certain checkpoint inhibitors should, therefore, be evaluated in further studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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