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Open AccessArticle

Programmed Death 1 Ligand Expression in the Monocytes of Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Depends on Tumor Progression

The Second Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka Medical College, Takatsuki 5698686, Japan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2286; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082286
Received: 28 June 2020 / Revised: 5 August 2020 / Accepted: 8 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotherapy in Hepatocellular Carcinoma)
Monocytes (CD14+ cells) from advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients express programmed death 1 ligand (PD-L)/PD-1 and suppress the host antitumor immune response. However, it is unclear whether cancer progression is associated with CD14+ cells. We compared CD14+ cell properties before and after cancer progression in the same HCC patients and examined their role in antitumor immunity. CD14+ cells were isolated from 15 naïve early-stage HCC patients before treatment initiation and after cancer progression to advanced stages. Although CD14+ cells from patients at early HCC stages exhibited antitumor activity in humanized murine chimera, CD14+ cells from the same patients after progression to advanced stages lacked this activity. Moreover, CD14+ cells from early HCC stages scantly expressed PD-L1 and PD-L2 and produced few cytokines, while CD14+ cells from advanced stages showed increased PD-L expression and produced IL-10 and CCL1. CD14+ cells were also isolated from five naïve advanced-stage HCC patients before treatment as well as after treatment-induced tumor regression. The CD14+ cells from patients with advanced-stage HCC expressed PD-L expressions, produced IL-10 and CCL1, and exhibited minimal tumoricidal activity. After treatment-induced tumor regression, CD14+ cells from the same patients did not express PD-Ls, failed to produce cytokines, and recovered tumoricidal activity. These results indicate that PD-L expression as well as CD14+ cell phenotype depend on the tumor stage in HCC patients. PD-L expressions of monocytes may be used as a new marker in the classification of cancer progression in HCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: CD14+ cells; hepatocellular carcinoma; programmed death 1 ligands CD14+ cells; hepatocellular carcinoma; programmed death 1 ligands
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Asai, A.; Yasuoka, H.; Matsui, M.; Tsuchimoto, Y.; Fukunishi, S.; Higuchi, K. Programmed Death 1 Ligand Expression in the Monocytes of Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Depends on Tumor Progression. Cancers 2020, 12, 2286.

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