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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Development of a Companion Diagnostic for Pembrolizumab in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Using Immunohistochemistry for Programmed Death Ligand-1.


Context .- Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression by tumors may enable them to avoid immunosurveillance. Objective .- To develop a PD-L1 immunohistochemical assay using the 22C3 anti-PD-L1 murine monoclonal antibody on the Dako platform as a possible companion diagnostic for pembrolizumab in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Design .- Tumor samples from 146 patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with pembrolizumab in KEYNOTE-001 and for whom response data were available were scored according to their staining intensity by a single pathologist using 4 methods: percentage of tumor cells staining at any intensity (PS1), moderate/strong intensity (PS2), strong intensity (PS3), and H-score (PS1 + PS2 + PS3). The cutoff score for predicting response to pembrolizumab was determined using receiver operating characteristic analysis. Progression-free and overall survival were assessed in patients with measurable disease per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1 (n = 146). Results .- The 4 scoring methods assessed performed similarly; PS1 with a 50% cutoff score is the simplest and easiest method to implement in practice. Response to pembrolizumab was observed in 19 of 44 patients (43%) with a PS1 score of 50% or higher and 8 of 102 patients (8%) with PS1 lower than 50% (odds ratio, 8.93). Median progression-free and overall survival was 4.0 months and not yet reached, respectively, for patients with a PS1 of 50% or higher, and 2.1 and 6.1 months, respectively, for those with PS1 lower than 50%. Conclusion .- The PD-L1 immunohistochemical assay shows the potential for enrichment of trial populations and as a companion diagnostic tool in non-small cell lung cancer.


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