PD-L1 expression in tumor cells and the immunologic milieu of bladder carcinomas: a pathologic review of 165 cases.

Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a transmembrane protein that plays a major role in immune suppression. Its interaction with the receptor PD-1 results in downregulation of antitumoral immunity. Humanized monoclonal antibodies that interrupt the PD-L1/PD-1 interaction have shown therapeutic efficacy in patients with advanced urothelial cancer. However, immunohistochemical staining of PD-L1 in bladder tumors and its relationship to tumor histologic type, grade, and overall survival has been incompletely analyzed. Slides from 165 cystectomy specimens were reviewed for tumor type, grade of urothelial carcinoma, pathologic stage, and overall survival. A tissue microarray (TMA) using four 0.6 mm cores from each case was constructed. Immunohistochemistry was performed on the TMA using a variety of new PD-L1 antibodies and platforms now widely available. For each case, the percent of tumor cells positive for PD-L1 and the percent of positive immune cells were scored. The overall number of bladder cancers positive for PD-L1 depended on the antibody/platform combination used and the threshold for considering a tumor "PD-L1 positive". Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the bladder demonstrated PD-L1 positivity more frequently than urothelial cell carcinomas (UCCs). High grade UCCs were positive for PD-L1 on tumor cells more frequently than low grade UCCs. There was no difference in survival between PD-L1 positive and PD-L1 negative bladder cancers in our study. Further studies should consider examining the predictive significance of PD-L1 IHC in bladder cancers.

Human pathology. 2018 Jun 30 [Epub ahead of print]

Jonathan J Davick, Henry F Frierson, Mark Smolkin, Alejandro A Gru

The University of Virginia, Department of Pathology, Charlottesville, VA. Electronic address: ., The University of Virginia, Department of Pathology, Charlottesville, VA., The University of Virginia, Department of Public Health Sciences, Charlottesville, VA.

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