Atlas of PD-L1 for Pathologists: Indications, Scores, Diagnostic Platforms and Reporting Systems

J Pers Med. 2022 Jun 29;12(7):1073. doi: 10.3390/jpm12071073.


Background: Innovative drugs targeting the PD1/PD-L1 axis have opened promising scenarios in modern cancer therapy. Plenty of assays and scoring systems have been developed for the evaluation of PD-L1 immunohistochemical expression, so far considered the most reliable therapeutic predictive marker.

Methods: By gathering the opinion of acknowledged experts in dedicated fields of pathology, we sought to update the currently available evidence on PD-L1 assessment in various types of tumors.

Results: Robust data were progressively collected for several anatomic districts and leading international agencies to approve specific protocols: among these, TPS with 22C3, SP142 and SP263 clones in lung cancer; IC with SP142 antibody in breast, lung and urothelial tumors; and CPS with 22C3/SP263 assays in head and neck and urothelial carcinomas. On the other hand, for other malignancies, such as gastroenteric neoplasms, immunotherapy has been only recently introduced, often for particular histotypes, so specific guidelines are still lacking.

Conclusions: PD-L1 immunohistochemical scoring is currently the basis for allowing many cancer patients to receive properly targeted therapies. While protocols supported by proven data are already available for many tumors, dedicated studies and clinical trials focusing on harmonization of the topic in other still only partially explored fields are surely yet advisable.

Keywords: PD-L1; clones; immunohistochemistry; immunotherapy; scores.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.