Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression with combined positive score (CPS) ≥1 is required for administration of checkpoint inhibitor therapy in recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The 22C3 pharmDx Dako immunohistochemical assay is the one approved as companion diagnostic for pembrolizumab, but many laboratories work on other platforms and/or with other clones, and studies exploring the potential interchangeability of assays have appeared. After review of the literature, it emerges that the concordance among assays ranges from fair to moderate, with a tendence of assay SP263 to yield a higher quota of positivity and of assay SP142 to stain better immune cells. Moreover, pathologists achieve very good concordance in assessing PD-L1 CPS, particularly with SP263. Differences in terms of platforms, procedures and study design still preclude a quantitative synthesis of evidence and clearly further work is needed to draw stronger conclusions on the interchangeability of PD-L1 assays in HNSCC.
Challenges Facing Pathologists Evaluating PD-L1 in Head & Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma / Girolami, Ilaria; Pantanowitz, Liron; Barberis, Massimo; Paolino, Gaetano; Brunelli, Matteo; Vigliar, Elena; Munari, Enrico; Satturwar, Swati; Troncone, Giancarlo; Eccher, Albino. - In: JOURNAL OF ORAL PATHOLOGY & MEDICINE. - ISSN 0904-2512. - 50:9(2021), pp. 864-873. [10.1111/jop.13220]