Aims: The immune microenvironment is a prognostic factor for various malignancies. The significance of key players of this immune microenvironment, including tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and expression of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (WARS) in gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) is largely unknown. Methods and results: Tissue microarrays were constructed from pathology files, 1996–2016. Immunohistochemistry for PD-L1, IDO and WARS was correlated with tumour size, mitoses and outcomes. TILs expressing CD3, CD4, CD8, FoxP3 and GBP5 were counted. A total of 129 GISTs were analysed. Mean patient age was 62.5 years; 52.0% were male. Tumour location included 89 stomach (69.0%), 33 small bowel (25.6%) and seven other (5.4%). Mean tumour size was 5.6 cm; mean mitoses were 7.2 per 50 high-power field. Nineteen patients (15.0%) developed disease progression, to abdominal wall (n = 8), liver (n = 6) and elsewhere (n = 5). Median progression-free survival was 56.6 months; five patients died of disease. PD-L1 was positive in 88 of 127 tumour samples (69.0%), 114 of 127 tumours were IDO-positive (89.8%) and 60 of 127 were positive for WARS (47.2%). PD-L1 was associated with increased size (P = 0.01), necrosis (P = 0.018) and mitoses (P = 0.006). Disease progression was not associated with PD-L1 (P = 0.44), IDO (P = 0.14) or WARS (P = 0.36) expression. PD-L1-positive GISTs with CD8+ or CD3+ TILs were significantly smaller than tumours with CD8+ or CD3+ TILs. Conclusions: PD-L1 expression was associated with increased size and mitoses. High CD8+ or CD3+ TIL counts were associated with decreased PD-L1/IDO+ GIST size. PD-L1 and IDO could be significant in GIST tumour biology, which invites consideration of immunotherapy as a potential treatment option.
- gastrointestinal stromal tumours
- immune proteins
- programmed death ligand
- tumour infiltrating lymphocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine