PD-L1 Expression in Melanoma: A Quantitative Immunohistochemical Antibody Comparison


Purpose: PD-L1 expression in the pretreatment tumor microenvironment enriches for response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively compare the performance of five monoclonal anti-PD-L1 antibodies used in recent landmark publications.Experimental Design: PD-L1 IHC was performed on 34 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded archival melanoma samples using the 5H1, SP142, 28-8, 22C3, and SP263 clones. The percentage of total cells (including melanocytes and immune cells) demonstrating cell surface PD-L1 staining, as well as intensity measurements/H-scores, were assessed for each melanoma specimen using a computer-assisted platform. Staining properties were compared between antibodies.Results: Strong correlations were observed between the percentage of PD-L1(+) cells across all clones studied (R(2) = 0.81-0.96). When present, discordant results were attributable to geographic heterogeneity of the melanoma tissue section rather than differences in PD-L1 antibody staining characteristics. PD-L1 intensity/H-scores strongly correlated with percentage of PD-L1(+) cells (R(2) textgreater 0.78, all clones).Conclusions: The 5H1, SP142, 28-8, 22C3, and SP263 clones all demonstrated similar performance characteristics when used in a standardized IHC assay on melanoma specimens. Reported differences in PD-L1 IHC assays using these antibodies are thus most likely due to assay characteristics beyond the antibody itself. Our findings also argue against the inclusion of an intensity/H-score in chromogenic PD-L1 IHC assays. Clin Cancer Res; 23(16); 4938-44. (c)2017 AACR.

Clin Cancer Res
Toby C. Cornish
Toby C. Cornish
Professor of Pathology and Data Science Institute

Clinical informaticist, gastrointestinal pathologist, and researcher.