Background: Cutaneous warts have high prevalence and cause significant morbidity. Understanding the mechanisms by which warts evade the immune system could lead to targeted and improved treatments. Objective: To determine whether cutaneous warts express programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and to characterize the expression of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) within the immune infiltrate of inflamed lesions. Methods: In total, 44 biopsies of cutaneous warts were retrieved from the Department of Dermatopathology archives of the University of California, San Francisco. Biopsies were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, and biopsies of inflamed lesions were stained with PD-1 monoclonal antibody. Results: PD-L1 was expressed on keratinocytes in cases of verrucae vulgares (12/30, 40%) and myrmecia (7/14, 50%) and was associated with an interface inflammatory reaction. PD-1 was expressed by the inflammatory infiltrate in verrucae vulgares (21/24, 88%) and myrmecia (5/8, 63%). Limitations: This was a retrospective observational study conducted at a single institution. Conclusion: Many cutaneous warts express PD-L1, suggesting that human papillomavirus might use this pathway to promote immune dysfunction. This discovery helps explain the recalcitrance of warts to current therapies and provides a rationale for investigating anti–PD-1 immunotherapy as a potential treatment for warts.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology|
|State||Published - Nov 2019|
- human papillomavirus
- interface dermatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas