Background: Immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) has shown dramatic therapeutic effects for lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and PD-L1 expression has been shown not only to be a predictive biomarker for response to immunotherapy but also a prognostic factor for lung SCC. However, the clinical significance of programmed death-ligand 2 (PD-L2), another PD-1 ligand, remains unclear. Therefore, we analyzed PD-L2 expression by immunohistochemistry in surgically resected primary lung SCC. Patients and Methods: PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression on tumor cells were analyzed in 211 primary lung SCC specimens by immunohistochemistry. Additionally, numbers of CD3 + , CD4 + , and CD8 + tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were also examined. Results: The rates of positive PD-L2 expression were 77.3% and 67.3% using 5% and 10% cut-off values, respectively. Low PD-L2 expression on tumor cells was statistically associated with histological type (non-keratinizing/keratinizing) and lymphatic invasion. PD-L2-positive patients had significantly longer postoperative survival time (log-rank test; p = 0.0170 at 5% cut-off and p = 0.0500 at 10% cut-off). Furthermore, survival analysis according to PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression revealed that PD-L1-positive and PD-L2-negative patients had the most unfavorable prognosis. Conclusions: PD-L2 protein expression was associated with prognosis in primary lung SCC patients. PD-L2 expression might be a potential biomarker for response to PD-1/PD-L1-targeted immunotherapy, which should be investigated in future studies.
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