CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · J Lab Physicians 2022; 14(01): 027-031
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1736522
Original Article

Expression of Programmed Cell Death-1 (PD-1) and Its Ligand (PD-L1) in Breast Cancers and Its Association with Clinicopathological Parameters

Anoushika Mehan
1   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Michael Leonard Anthony
1   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Pranoy Paul
1   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Anjum Syed
2   Department of Radiodiagnosis and Integrated Breast Care Centre (IBCC), AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Nilotpal Chowdhury
3   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Integrated Breast Care Centre (IBCC), AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Shalinee Rao
3   Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Integrated Breast Care Centre (IBCC), AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
Nuzhat Hussain
4   Department of Pathology, Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Bina Ravi
5   Department of Surgery and Integrated Breast Care Centre (IBCC), AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
› Author Affiliations


Introduction Cancer immunotherapy targeting the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) axis has revolutionized cancer therapy. PD-L1 also serves as a predictive marker for such therapy. To assess the potential of such therapy in any cancer, the positivity of PD-1 and PD-L1 in such cancers needs to be assessed. However, such studies for breast cancer are lacking in South Asia. We aimed to estimate the positivity of PD-L1 and PD-1 receptors in breast cancer and its various clinicopathological groups in our patient population.

Materials and Methods We studied the immunoexpression of PD-1 and PD-L1 in 103 histologically proven invasive carcinoma breast cases from October 2018 to April 2019. The percent positivity of PD-1 and PD-L1 with 95% confidence intervals (CI) was estimated for all the cases as well as groups defined by stage, grade, molecular subtype, hormone receptor status, Ki-67, and age.

Results PD-1 positivity was seen in 72 (69.9%) cases (95% CI: 60.1–78.6). PD-L1 immunoexpression was seen in 61 (59.2%) cases (95% CI: 49.1–68.8) in immune cells and in 39 (37.9%) cases (95% CI: 28.5–50.0) in tumor cells. No significant association was found between PD-1, PD-L1 and age, overall clinical stage, grade, size, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, and Ki-67. Moderate-to-high PD-1 and PD-L1 immunopositivity was seen in all subtypes of breast cancer.

Conclusion PD-1 and PD-L1 is expressed in all subgroups of breast carcinoma. Patients in all such groups are amenable to immunotherapy, provided they are found suitable otherwise.

Publication History

Article published online:
10 November 2021

© 2021. The Indian Association of Laboratory Physicians. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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