Background: PD-L1 expression on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) has recently been reported as a biomarker for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the prognostic and clinical significance of PD-L1 on TILs in CRC remains controversial. We performed this meta-analysis to evaluate the association between the PD-L1 expression on TILs and clinicopathological features and prognosis of CRC patients.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search for relevant studies published up to Feb 2020 was performed using Medline, Embase, and Web of Science. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% CI was selected to appraise the correlation between PD-L1 expression on TILs with prognostic and clinicopathological characteristics of CRC patients. Begg’s and Egger’s test were used to assess publication bias. The statistical analysis was conducted using Stata software. Results: A total of 19 studies including 5,213 CRC cases were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled results showed that PD-L1 overexpression on TILs was relevant to longer OS (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.19 - 1.55, p < 0.01) and longer DFS/RFS (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.03 - 1.44, p = 0.02). Moreover, CRC patients with high expression of PD-L1 on TILS was associated with lower T stage (OR = 2.30, 95% CI = 1.85 - 2.87, p < 0.01), less lymph node in-vasion (OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.03 - 2.13, p = 0.03), less distant metastasis (OR = 2.56, 95% CI = 1.81 - 3.64, p < 0.01), earlier TNM stage (OR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.34 - 2.66, p < 0.01), later tumor grade (OR = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.23 - 0.62, p < 0.01) and high MSI status (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.25 - 0.52, p < 0.01). But it is not related to tumor size, tumor differentiation, MMR status, BRAF mutant, and KRAS mutant.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis revealed that PD-L1 expression on TILs can serve as a signiﬁcant biomarker for positive prognosis and clinicopathological features of CRC. Our results may provide some useful information when using PD-L1 expression to predict the survival of CRC patients and to select the beneficial CRC patients from PD-1/PD-L1 antibody treatment.