PD-L1 testing for lung cancer in the UK: recognizing the challenges for implementation

Ian A Cree, Richard Booton, Paul Cane, John Gosney, Merdol Ibrahim, Keith Kerr, Rohit Lal, Conrad Lewanski, Neal Navani, Andrew G Nicholson, Marianne Nicolson, Yvonne Summers
Histopathology 2016, 69 (2): 177-86
A new approach to the management of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has recently emerged that works by manipulating the immune checkpoint controlled by programmed death receptor 1 (PD-1) and its ligand programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Several drugs targeting PD-1 (pembrolizumab and nivolumab) or PD-L1 (atezolizumab, durvalumab, and avelumab) have been approved or are in the late stages of development. Inevitably, the introduction of these drugs will put pressure on healthcare systems, and there is a need to stratify patients to identify those who are most likely to benefit from such treatment. There is evidence that responsiveness to PD-1 inhibitors may be predicted by expression of PD-L1 on neoplastic cells. Hence, there is considerable interest in using PD-L1 immunohistochemical staining to guide the use of PD-1-targeted treatments in patients with NSCLC. This article reviews the current knowledge about PD-L1 testing, and identifies current research requirements. Key factors to consider include the source and timing of sample collection, pre-analytical steps (sample tracking, fixation, tissue processing, sectioning, and tissue prioritization), analytical decisions (choice of biomarker assay/kit and automated staining platform, with verification of standardized assays or validation of laboratory-devised techniques, internal and external quality assurance, and audit), and reporting and interpretation of the results. This review addresses the need for integration of PD-L1 immunohistochemistry with other tests as part of locally agreed pathways and protocols. There remain areas of uncertainty, and guidance should be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"