Prognostic value of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity and expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Ahlem Ben-Haj-Ayed, Adnène Moussa, Randa Ghedira, Sallouha Gabbouj, Souad Miled, Nadia Bouzid, Sameh Tebra-Mrad, Noureddine Bouaouina, Lotfi Chouchane, Abdelfattah Zakhama, Elham Hassen

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Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an enzyme with an immunosuppressive effect whose function is diverted by tumor cells to counteract immune cell functions, inducing immune escape of tumor cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of IDO in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Compared to controls, NPC patients' plasma IDO activity was significantly higher, especially among patients with metastatic cancer (p = 0.005). The immunohistochemical analysis revealed that high IDO expression was observed in 74% of NPC tissues and the epithelial IDO expression was inversely correlated to T-cell infiltration. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that whatever the localization, intratumoral or stromal, patients with a high IDO expression and low T-cell infiltration have significantly lower survival rates. Moreover, in multivariate analysis, intratumoral and stromal IDO expression were found to be independent prognostic factors for disease-free survival (p = 0.016; HR: 3.52) and overall survival (p = 0.015; HR: 4.76) respectively. Our findings provide evidence that IDO is involved in tumor immune evasion of NPC, suggesting that it could be a relevant therapeutic target for NPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalImmunology Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016



  • Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Survivals
  • T-cell infiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

Cite this

Ben-Haj-Ayed, A., Moussa, A., Ghedira, R., Gabbouj, S., Miled, S., Bouzid, N., Tebra-Mrad, S., Bouaouina, N., Chouchane, L., Zakhama, A., & Hassen, E. (2016). Prognostic value of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity and expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Immunology Letters, 169, 23-32.