Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Intravesical BCG treatment fails inexplicably in 30%-45% of patients for high-grade nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). We aimed to investigate the role of PD-1/PD-L1 interaction on BCG failure of high-grade NMIBC and to identify biomarkers for predicting BCG responsive cases. Materials and methods: Thirty BCG responsive and 29 nonresponsive NMIBCs were included in the study. Expressions of PDL1(SP-263), MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, and MLH1 were evaluated on pre- and post-BCG transurethral resection (TUR-B) specimens by immunohistochemistry. PD-L1(SP-263) expression was categorised as negative/low, high. DNA mismatch repair protein (MMR) expressions were classified as 'reduced' if ≤30% of nuclei stained, 'preserved' if >30% of nuclei stained. Microsatellite instability (MSI) testing was performed by PCR using five mononucleotide markers. Results: Reduced DNA MMR protein expression was found to be significantly higher in the pretreatment biopsies of BCG-responsive group than the BCG nonresponsive tumour group (p = 0.022). PD-L1 expression did not show any significant difference between the pre- and posttreatment TUR-B specimens of the BCG nonresponsive tumour group or between the pretreatment TUR-B specimens of BCG nonresponsive and the BCG responsive groups (p = 0.508, p = 0.708, respectively). Conclusion: Immune escape of tumour cells by PD-1/PD-L1 interaction does not seem to have any role in BCG failure of NMIBCs. Reduced MMR expression may help to determine cases that will respond well to BCG therapy. A better antitumour activity of BCG in NMIBCs with reduced MMR expression may be related to the ongoing accumulation of cancer neoantigens in correlation with increased tumour mutation load as a result of DNA repair defects.


Nonmuscle-invasive bladder carcinoma, microsatellite instability, mismatch repair, PD-L1, immunotherapy, BCG therapy

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