Context: - With the abundance of therapeutics targeted against programmed death receptor-1 and its ligand (PD-L1) that are currently approved or in clinical development, there is interest in identifying those patients most likely to respond to these drugs. Expression of PD-L1 may be an indicator of an initial and robust inflammatory response to the presence of tumor cells. Therefore, tumors that express PD-L1 may be the most likely to respond to therapies that interrupt the negative feedback mechanism that leads to PD-L1 upregulation.
Objective: - To develop a prototype immunohistochemistry assay using the anti-PD-L1 antibody clone 22C3.
Design: - The assay was developed and optimized using commercially available reagents and archival tumor-bank tissue.
Results: - The optimized immunohistochemistry method had high precision and reproducibility. Using the prototype assay in 142 non-small cell lung cancer and 79 melanoma archival tumor-bank tissue samples, PD-L1 staining was observed at the plasma membrane of nucleated tumor and nontumor cells and, in some cases, as a distinct lichenoid pattern at the tumor-stroma border. Using a preliminary scoring method, 56% (80 of 142) of non-small cell lung cancer and 53% (42 of 79) of melanoma samples were defined as PD-L1+ based on a modified H-score of 1 or more or the presence of a distinctive staining pattern at the tumor-stroma interface.
Conclusions: - The immunohistochemistry assay using the anti-PD-L1 antibody 22C3 merits further investigation in clinical trials and prevalence assessments to further understand the prognostic and predictive value of PD-L1 expression in cancer.