Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 324–330 | Cite as

PD-L1 Expression on Lung Cancer Stem Cells in Metastatic Lymph Nodes Aspirates

  • Agata Raniszewska
  • Małgorzata Polubiec-Kownacka
  • Elzbieta Rutkowska
  • Joanna Domagala-KulawikEmail author



An immunotherapy was found to be effective in achieving long-term survival in some lung cancer patients. It has emerged to searching for new immune biomarkers for select the best candidates to this therapy. It is suggested that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for tumor initiation, maintenance and its metastatic potential. However, a role of CSCs in escape of cancer from immunosurveillance is unknown. The aim of the study was assess the phenotype of putative CSCs and to examine the expression of PD-L1 on CSCs in metastatic lymph nodes (LNs) in lung cancer patients.

Material and Methods

Flow cytometry was used for CSCs evaluation in peripheral blood and EBUS/TBNA aspirates from N1,N2 lymph nodes in lung cancer patients.


Of 30 patients the LNs metastases were confirmed in 18 patients. We noticed presence of PD-L1 on putative lung CSCs- CD133 + EpCAM+ cells. A higher percentage of CD133 + EpCAM+PD-L1+ cells was observed in patients with metastatic in LNs- median value = 4.38% than in patients without LNs metastases– median value = 0,015% (p < 0.05). The highest proportion of PD-L1+ CSCs was found in adenocarcinoma patients and in those with oncogene addiction what indicate an particular biology of this type of lung cancer.


The presence of CSCs with expression of PD-L1 in the metastatic LNs might suggest their immunogenic potential. EBUS/TBNA is commonly used in diagnosis and staging of lung cancer, so the analysis of the cells in metastatic LNs may fit in “immunoscoring” before immunotherapy.


Lung cancer Cancer stem cells EpCAM PD-L1 EBUS/TBNA 



Marta Dabrowska MD, PhD, and Rafał Sokołowski MD for the help in EBUS/TBNA performing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The Authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agata Raniszewska
    • 1
    • 2
  • Małgorzata Polubiec-Kownacka
    • 3
  • Elzbieta Rutkowska
    • 2
  • Joanna Domagala-Kulawik
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PathologyMedical University of WarsawWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine and Hematology Laboratory of Flow CytometryWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryInstitute of Tuberculosis and Lung DiseasesWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Department of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and AllergyMedical University of WarsawWarsawPoland

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