Jose I. Lopez, Rafael Pulido, Jesus M. Cortes , Javier C. Angulo, and Charles H. Lawrie. Potential impact of PD-L1 (SP-142) immunohistochemical heterogeneity in clear cell renal cell carcinoma immunotherapy. Pathol Res Pract 214:1110-1114, 2018 [pdf]
Intratumor heterogeneity (ITH) detection remains a challenge in modern oncology because it can have a direct impact on the success of new therapies. Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy is an emerging treatment modality that is showing great promise for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) patients with advanced disease. Patient selection for such therapy relies upon the immunohistochemical detection of PD-1/PD-L1, however the degree of ITH for these markers among tumor cells and/or inflammatory mononuclear infiltrates remains unknown. Therefore, we analyzed PD-L1 (SP-142) expression in the tumor inflammatory cells of 22 CCRCC cases with the aim to define the pattern of PD-L1 expression, and to compare the reliability of current tumor sampling protocols (RS) with a multisite tumor sampling strategy (MSTS). While the RS protocol identified 5/22 (22.7%) of cases that were positive for PD-L1 expression, MSTS identified 10/22 (45.45%) of cases. This suggests that RS may miss a proportion of CCRCC patients that might benefit from immunotherapy. In addition, MSTS demonstrated that positive and negative regions of PD-L1 expression are very variable within each tumor.