Critical Appraisal of Programmed Death Ligand 1 Reflex Diagnostic Testing: Current Standards and Future Opportunities.
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Introduction Patient suitability to anti-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibition is key to the treatment of NSCLC. We present, applied to PD-L1 testing: a comprehensive cross-validation of two immunohistochemistry (IHC) clones; our descriptive experience in diagnostic reflex testing; the concordance of IHC to in situ RNA (RNA-ISH); and application of digital pathology.Methods Eight hundred thirteen NSCLC tumor samples collected from 564 diagnostic samples were analyzed prospectively, and 249 diagnostic samples analyzed retrospectively in tissue microarray format. Validated methods for IHC and RNA-ISH were tested in tissue microarrays and full sections and the QuPath system were used for digital pathology analysis.Results Antibody concordance of clones SP263 and 22C3 validation was 97% to 98% in squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinomas, respectively. Clinical NSCLC cases were reported as PD-L1-negative (48%), 1% to 49% (23%), and more than 50% (29%), with differences associated to tissue-type and EGFR status. Comparison of IHC and RNA-ISH was highly concordant in both subgroups. Comparison of digital assessment versus manual assessment was highly concordant. Discrepancies were mostly around the 1% clinical threshold. Challenging IHC interpretation included 1) calculating the total tumor cell denominator and the nature of PD-L1 expressing cell aggregates in cytology samples; 2) peritumoral expression of positive immune cells; 3) calculation of positive tumor percentages around clinical thresholds; and 4) relevance of the 100 malignant cell rule.Conclusions Sample type and EGFR status dictate differences in the expected percentage of PD-L1 expression. Analysis of PD-L1 is challenging, and interpretative guidelines are discussed. PD-L1 evaluations by RNA-ISH and digital pathology appear reliable, particularly in adenocarcinomas.
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
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Journal of thoracic oncology : official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, 2019, 14 (1), pp. 45 - 53