Purpose:Ovarian cancer often progresses by disseminating to the peritoneal cavity, but how the tumor cells evade host immunity during this process is poorly understood. Programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) is known to suppress immune system and to be expressed on cancer cells. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the function of PD-L1 in peritoneal dissemination. Experimental Design:Ovarian cancer cases were studied by microarray and immunohistochemistry. PD-L1 expression in mouse ovarian cancer cell line in various conditions was assessed by flow cytometry. PD-L1-overexpression cell line and PD-L1-depleted cell line were generated, and cytolysis by CTLs was analyzed, and alterations in CTLs were studied by means of timelapse and microarray. These cell lines were injected intraperitoneally to syngeneic immunocompetent mice. Results:Microarray and immunohistochemistry in human ovarian cancer revealed significant correlation between PD-L1 expression and peritoneal positive cytology. PD-L1 expression on mouse ovarian cancer cells was induced upon encountering lymphocytes in the course of peritoneal spread in vivo and co-culture with lymphocytes in vitro. Tumor cell lysis by CTLs was attenuated when PD-L1 was overexpressed and promoted when it was silenced. PD-L1 overexpression inhibited gathering and degranulation of CTLs. Gene expression profile of CTLs caused by PD-L1-overexpressing ovarian cancer was associated with CTLs exhaustion. In mouse models, PD-L1 depletion resulted in inhibited tumor growth in the peritoneal cavity and prolonged survival. Conclusions:PD-L1 expression on tumor cell promotes peritoneal dissemination by repressing CTL function. PD-L1-targeted therapy is a promising strategy for preventing and treating peritoneal dissemination.
- Received July 23, 2012.
- Revision received October 18, 2012.
- Accepted December 14, 2012.
- Copyright © 2013, American Association for Cancer Research.