Multi-layered control of PD-L1 expression in Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric cancer.

Miliotis CN,  Slack FJ. Multi-layered control of PD-L1 expression in Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric cancer. J Cancer Metastasis Treat 2020;6:13. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/2394-4722.2020.12

Abstract: Gastric cancer (GC) is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. In approximately 10% of GC cases, cancer cells show ubiquitous and monoclonal Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. A significant feature of EBV-associated GC (EBVaGC) is high lymphocytic infiltration and high expression of immune checkpoint proteins, including programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). This highlights EBVaGC as a strong candidate for immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Indeed, several recent studies have shown that EBV positivity in GC correlates with positive response to programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 blockade therapy. Understanding the mechanisms that control PD-L1 expression in EBVaGC can indicate new predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy, as well as therapeutic targets for combination therapy. Various mechanisms have been implicated in PD-L1 expression regulation, including structural variations, post-transcriptional control, oncogenic activation of intrinsic signaling pathways, and increased sensitivity to extrinsic signals. This review provides the most recent updates on the multi-layered control of PD-L1 expression in EBVaGC.

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