Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Emerging from Hashimoto Thyroiditis Demonstrates Increased PD-L1 Expression, Which Persists with Metastasis

Daniel Lubin, Ezra Baraban, Amanda Lisby, Sahar Jalali-Farahani, Paul Zhang, Virginia Livolsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is evidence that programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) is expressed by thyroid follicular epithelium in thyroiditis, but the role of PD-L1 in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is poorly understood. We aimed to determine whether (1) the presence of background chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT) or Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) influenced the expression of PD-L1 in benign follicular epithelium or in PTC and (2) if PD-L1 expression in PTC persisted with lymph node metastasis. We performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) for PD-L1 on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. We first studied five cases of unremarkable thyroid, five cases of CLT, and five cases of HT without carcinoma. We subsequently performed PD-L1 IHC on ten cases of PTC arising in normal thyroid, ten cases of PTC arising in CLT, and ten cases of PTC arising in HT. Whenever available, we evaluated corresponding synchronous lymph node metastases from all cases for PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 expression was increased (10–90%) in all five cases of HT, only minimal expressed (1–5%) in two of five cases of CLT, and not expressed in five cases of unremarkable thyroid. PTC arising in normal thyroid or CLT nearly uniformly lacked PD-L1 expression. In contrast, PTC arising in HT demonstrated significant PD-L1 expression, which persisted in corresponding lymph node metastases. Background non-neoplastic follicular epithelium in the HT cases also demonstrated PD-L1 expression. Thyroid follicular epithelium in HT demonstrates increased PD-L1 expression, and PTC arising in a background of HT shows increased PD-L1 expression, which is retained with metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Hashimoto thyroiditis
  • Metastasis
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Programmed death-ligand 1
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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