Translational oncology

PD-L1 Expression and Survival among Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Chemotherapy.

PMID 26947883


Recent clinical trial results have suggested that programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression measured by immunohistochemistry may predict response to anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) therapy. Results on the association between PD-L1 expression and survival among patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with chemotherapy are inconsistent. We evaluated the relationship between PD-L1 expression and overall survival (OS) among 204 patients with advanced NSCLC treated at Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, from 2007 to 2012. PD-L1 expression was measured using a prototype immunohistochemistry assay with the anti-PD-L1 22C3 antibody (Merck). PD-L1 strong positivity and weak positivity were defined to be traceable to the clinical trial version of the assay. Twenty-five percent of patients had PD-L1 strong-positive tumors, and 50% had PD-L1 weak-positive tumors. No statistically significant association was found between PD-L1 expression and survival; adjusted hazard ratio of 1.34 (95% confidence interval, 0.88-2.03; median OS, 9.0 months) for the PD-L1 strong-positive group and 1.07 (0.74-1.55; median OS, 9.8 months) for the PD-L1 weak-positive group compared with the PD-L1-negative group (median OS, 7.5 months). No association was seen between PD-L1 expression and OS when PD-L1 expression levels were stratified by median or tertiles. In concordance with previous studies, we found PD-L1 measured by immunohistochemistry to be frequently expressed in patients with advanced NSCLC. However, PD-L1 expression is not a strong prognostic marker in patients with advanced NSCLC treated with chemotherapy.