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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
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2286;
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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