Yanyan Tang 1 , 2 , 3 , Yi He 2 , 4 , Lei Shi 5 , Liting Yang 2 , Jinpeng Wang 2 , Yu Lian 2 , Chunmei Fan 2 , Ping Zhang 6 , Can Guo 2 , Shanshan Zhang 1 , Zhaojian Gong 2 , 5 , Xiayu Li 3 , Fang Xiong 1 , Xiaoling Li 1 , 2 , 3 , Yong Li 2 , 7 , Guiyuan Li 1 , 2 , 3 , Wei Xiong 1 , 2 , 3 , Zhaoyang Zeng 1 , 2 , 3
24 March 2017
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) carries a high potential for metastasis and immune escape, with a great risk of relapse after primary treatment. Through analysis of whole genome expression profiling data in NPC samples, we found that the expression of a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), actin filament-associated protein 1 antisense RNA 1 ( AFAP1-AS1), is significantly correlated with the immune escape marker programmed death 1 ( PD-1). We therefore assessed the expression of AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 in a cohort of 96 paraffin-embedded NPC samples and confirmed that AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 are co-expressed in infiltrating lymphocytes in NPC tissue. Moreover, patients with high expression of AFAP1-AS1 or PD-1 in infiltrating lymphocytes were more prone to distant metastasis, and NPC patients with positive expression of both AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 had the poorest prognosis. This study suggests that AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 may be potential therapeutic targets in NPC and that patients with co-expression of AFAP1-AS1 and PD-1 may be ideal candidates for future clinical trials of anti-PD-1 immune therapy.