Objectives: Programmed death 1 (PD-1) is an immunoinhibitory receptor and has been identified as a new target for immunotherapy in cancer. Here we report the expression of PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) in surgically resected gastric cancer. Materials and Methods: We examined formalin-fixed tumor samples from 144 gastric cancer patients with a primary diagnosis of gastric carcinoma. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect PD-L1. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) loss of heterozygosity were investigated in these patients. RNA interference was used to downregulate HER2 expression, and PD-L1 protein expression was assessed by flow cytometry using the gastric cancer cell line MKN45. Results: Overexpression of PD-L1 was significantly correlated with tumor invasion (p = 0.011) and associated with poor survival. The number of PD-L1-positive cases increased according to the HER2 score in clinical samples. siRNA-mediated downregulation of HER2 significantly decreased PD-L1 protein expression in MKN45 cells. Conclusions: PD-L1 expression was associated with poor survival of gastric cancer, and HER2 signaling affects the expression of PD-L1 in gastric cancer. In gastric cancer, PTEN and HER2 are potential candidate biomarkers for developing human antibodies that block PD-L1.
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