Journal Article Intratumoral heterogeneity of programmed cell death ligand-1 expression is common in lung cancer

Nakamura, Sayuri  ,  Hayashi, Kentaro  ,  Imaoka, Yuki  ,  Kitamura, Yuka  ,  Akazawa, Yuko  ,  Tabata, Kazuhiro  ,  Groen, Ruben  ,  Tsuchiya, Tomoshi  ,  Yamasaki, Naoya  ,  Nagayasu, Takeshi  ,  Fukuoka, Junya

12 ( 10 )  , p.e0186192 , 2017-10-19 , Public Library of Science
Programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression may predict the response to both programmed cell death-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors in lung cancer. However, the extent of intratumoral heterogeneity of PD-L1 expression, which may cause false negative results, is largely unexplored. We aimed to assess the intratumoral heterogeneity of PD-L1 expression in surgically resected lung cancer specimens by applying a novel method of tissue microarray, namely Spiral Arrays, which enables us to observe the heterogeneity in spiral-shaped tissue cores. Adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma specimens were obtained from consecutive patients with lung cancer who had undergone surgical resection at Nagasaki University Hospital (Nagasaki, Japan) since 2009. Small cell lung cancer and large cell carcinoma specimens were selected from patients in the same archive who had undergone resection since 1998. Spiral Arrays were constructed of spiral-shaped cores, prepared from representative blocks of each case, which were subjected to immunohistochemistry using an anti-PD-L1 antibody. Each core was divided into 8 segments and each segment was classified as either PD-L1-positive or PD-L1-negative using thresholds of 1.0%, 5.0%, 10.0%, and 50.0%, respectively. In total, 138 specimens were selected, including 60 adenocarcinomas, 59 squamous cell carcinomas, 12 small cell lung cancers, and 7 large cell carcinomas. The majority of specimens with PD-L1-positive segments exhibited heterogeneous expression (i.e., had a mixture of PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative segments within a core) irrespective of the threshold (1.0%, 66.7%; 5.0%, 74.4%; 10.0%, 75.8%; and 50.0%, 85.7%]. Large variations in the ratios of PD-L1-positive segments were observed. At least 50.0% of the segments within a core were negative in no fewer than 50.0% (range, 50.0–76.0%) of cases with heterogeneous PD-L1 expression. In conclusion, intratumoral heterogeneity of PD-L1 expression was frequently observed in cases of lung cancer. Thus, multiple tumor biopsy specimens may be needed to accurately determine the PD-L1 expression status.

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