Difference in immunohistochemical findings among anti-PD-L1 antibodies and their relationships with CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in Japanese melanoma patients

Int J Clin Oncol. 2022 Aug;27(8):1364-1371. doi: 10.1007/s10147-022-02189-7. Epub 2022 Jun 1.


Background: The immunohistochemical evaluation of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is important for selecting treatments. Several antibodies are available for such evaluations, but data regarding the differences in the antibodies' positivity are limited in melanoma, particularly the acral and mucosal types. We investigated the differences in melanoma tissues' PD-L1 expression among the commonly used PD-L1 antibodies and then evaluated the relationship between PD-L1+ tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs).

Patients and methods: We examined 56 primary lesions and 8 metastatic lymph node samples from 56 Japanese patients with melanoma (28 acral melanoma, 8 mucosal melanoma, 18 cutaneous melanoma, 2 unknown). Immunohistochemical staining was performed using three primary antibodies against PD-L1 (E1L3N, SP142, and 28-8). PD-L1-positive staining in tumor cells was defined as ≥ 1% expression.

Results: The positive rates were 25.0% for 28-8, 34.0% for E1L3N, and 34.0% for SP142 in 64 samples. The positive rates of acral melanoma were 10.7% for 28-8, 21.4% for E1L3N, and 21.4% for SP142. The positive rate of mucosal melanoma for which all three antibodies reacted was 12.5%. The positive rates of cutaneous melanoma were 55.6% for 28-8, 66.7% for E1L3N, and 66.7% for SP142. Significant relationships were observed among the PD-L1+ tumor cells, CD4+ TILs, and CD8+ TILs (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The staining results by E1L3N, SP142, and 28-8 antibodies were within the allowable range, although the positive rates by E1L3N and P142 were slightly higher than that of 28-8. CD4+ TILs and CD8+ TILs were quantitatively correlated with PD-L1-positive tumor cells.

Keywords: Acral melanoma; Anti-PD-L1 antibody; Immunohistochemistry; Melanoma; Mucosal melanoma.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Japan
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / pathology
  • Melanoma* / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology


  • Antibodies
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Biomarkers, Tumor

Supplementary concepts

  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant