Site Editor

Soo Park, MD


Are PD-L1 Expression and Polyomavirus Linked to Survival Among Patients With Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

By: Chris Schimpf, BS
Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2024

The journal Infectious Agents and Cancer has published the results of a Brazilian cohort study exploring the prevalence and prognostic roles of PD-L1 expression and Merkel cell polyomavirus in cases of Merkel cell carcinoma. Andreia Cristina De Melo, PhD, of the Brazilian National Cancer Institute, Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues reported that they observed no statistically significant correlations between Merkel cell polyomavirus infection or PD‐L1 expression and survival rates among patients with Merkel cell carcinoma. They also noted that, within the studied population, education level and advanced Merkel cell carcinoma stage indicated statistically significant worse progression‐free survival; in addition, male sex, education level, and advanced stage were risk factors in overall survival.

A total of 65 patients diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma between 1996 and 2019 at a cancer center in Rio de Janeiro were included in the retrospective study. The mean age at diagnosis was 72, 56.9% of the patients were male, 86.2% were White, and 56.9% were illiterate or did not complete elementary school.

The investigators reported Merkel cell polyomavirus immunohistochemistry was positive in 44.6% of cases, and PD‐L1 positivity was at least 1% in 64.6% of cases and at least 5% in 26.2% of cases. Although they observed no statistically significant correlations with progression-free survival or overall survival, they noted significant associations between Merkel cell polyomavirus and PD‐L1 expression of at least 1% (P = .003) and PD‐L1 expression of at least 5% (P = .005). Finally, the researchers reported an estimated 60-month overall survival rate of 48.9% for stages I to III and 8.9% for stage IV disease.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.