, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 103–108 | Cite as

The concentration of programmed cell death-ligand 1 in the peripheral blood is a useful biomarker for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

  • Yasunori Akutsu
  • Kentaro Murakami
  • Masayuki Kano
  • Takeshi Toyozumi
  • Yasunori Matsumoto
  • Masahiko Takahashi
  • Ryota Otsuka
  • Nobufumi Sekino
  • Masaya Yokoyama
  • Tadashi Shiraishi
  • Hisahiro Matsubara
Original Article



We determined the serum concentrations of Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligands (PD-L1 and PD-L2) in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).


Blood samples were collected from 85 patients with histologically proved ESCC. Serum levels of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 were measured using enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Correlations between serum PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 concentration and tumor depth, number of lymph node metastases, organ metastasis status, or disease stage were assessed and five-year survival rates according to clinicopathological characteristics were calculated.


The concentration of PD-1 was not differed according to tumor progression. On the other hand, the average concentration of PD-L1 in patients with T3/T4 disease was 15.6 (12.2–18.3) pg/mL (25–75%), and this was significantly higher than that in patients with Tis/T1/T2 disease (p = 0.020). Similarly, PD-L1 levels were significantly higher in patients with positive lymph nodes than in cases with negative lymph node involvement (p = 0.006) and were higher in patients with organ metastasis (p = 0.123) and in more advanced stage (p = 0.006). Similar tendency was observed regarding PD-L2 concentrations. PD-L2 concentration was higher in T3, T4 cases (p = 0.008), in LN positive cases (p = 0.032), and in more advanced stage (p = 0.024).


Our data showed that a concentration of PD-L1 in peripheral blood was high in advanced cancer and high concentration of PD-L1 predicted disease progression and also poor survival in patients with ESCC.


Esophageal cancer Squamous cell carcinoma Programmed cell death-1 Programmed cell death ligand Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay 



This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant no. 15K06867) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical Statement

The participants in this study provided informed consent, and the study design was approved by the appropriate ethics review boards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest to declare. This manuscript has been checked by an English language editing service.


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Copyright information

© The Japan Esophageal Society and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasunori Akutsu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kentaro Murakami
    • 1
  • Masayuki Kano
    • 1
  • Takeshi Toyozumi
    • 1
  • Yasunori Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Masahiko Takahashi
    • 1
  • Ryota Otsuka
    • 1
  • Nobufumi Sekino
    • 1
  • Masaya Yokoyama
    • 1
  • Tadashi Shiraishi
    • 1
  • Hisahiro Matsubara
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Frontier Surgery, Graduate School of MedicineChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  2. 2.Miwa Central ClinicMitoJapan

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