Comparison of three validated PD-L1 immunohistochemical assays in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder: interchangeability and issues related to patient selection.

E. Munari, G. Querzoli, M. Brunelli, M. Marconi, M. Sommaggio, M. Cocchi, G. Martignoni, G. Netto, A. Calio, L. Quatrini, F. Mariotti, C. Luchini, I. Girolami, A. Eccher, D. Segala, F. Ciompi, G. Zamboni, L. Moretta and G. Bogina

Frontiers in immunology 2022;13:954910.

DOI PMID Cited by ~4

Different programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) assays and scoring algorithms are being used in the evaluation of PD-L1 expression for the selection of patients for immunotherapy in specific settings of advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC). In this paper, we sought to investigate three approved assays (Ventana SP142 and SP263, and Dako 22C3) in UC with emphasis on implications for patient selection for atezolizumab/pembrolizumab as the first line of treatment. Tumors from 124 patients with invasive UC of the bladder were analyzed using tissue microarrays (TMA). Serial sections were stained with SP263 and SP142 on Ventana Benchmark Ultra and with 22C3 on Dako Autostainer Link 48. Stains were evaluated independently by two observers and scored using the combined positive score (CPS) and tumor infiltrating immune cells (IC) algorithms. Differences in proportions (DP), overall percent agreement (OPA), positive percent agreement (PPA), negative percent agreement (NPA), and Cohen k were calculated for all comparable cases. Good overall concordance in analytic performance was observed for 22C3 and SP263 with both scoring algorithms; specifically, the highest OPA was observed between 22C3 and SP263 (89.6%) when using CPS. On the other hand, SP142 consistently showed lower positivity rates with high differences in proportions (DP) compared with 22C3 and SP263 with both CPS and IC, and with a low PPA, especially when using the CPS algorithm. In conclusion, 22C3 and SP263 assays show comparable analytical performance while SP142 shows divergent staining results, with important implications for the selection of patients for both pembrolizumab and atezolizumab.