Wu X, et al. EJNMMI Res 2020.
BACKGROUND: Immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) or its ligand 1 (PD-L1) has shown promising results in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Exploring PD-L1 expression could help to select NSCLC candidates for immunotherapy. Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT could provide phenotypic information on malignant tumors. Thus, this study investigated PD-L1 expression correlation with metabolic parameters of FDG PET/CT and clinicopathological characteristics in NSCLC.
METHODS: FDG PET/CT metabolic parameters including maximum standard uptake (SUVmax), metabolic tumor volume and total lesion glycolysis of primary lesion (MTV-P, TLG-P), and combination of primary lesion and metastases (MTV-C, TLG-C) were compared with PD-L1-positive expression in patients with NSCLC. Moreover, clinicopathological characteristics, including age, gender, smoking history, serum tumor markers, tumor location, size, TNM stage, and genetic mutation were also reviewed.
RESULTS: All 374 patients (215 men; 159 women; age 63 ± 9 years) included 283 adenocarcinomas (ACs) and 91 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). PD-L1 expression was positive in 27.8% (104/374) cases. SUVmax, TLG-P, and TLG-C of PD-L1 positivity were significantly higher than PD-L1 negativity. Moreover, PD-L1 expression was obviously correlated with man, smoking, and central NSCLC. If ACs and SCCs were separately analyzed, PD-L1 positivity in ACs and SCCs was 21.6% (61/283) and 47.5% (43/91), respectively, and only SUVmax was obviously associated with PD-L1 expression. Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed that only SUVmax was an independent predictor of PD-L1 positive expression in overall NSCLC, AC, and SCC. Using a SUVmax cut-off value of 12.5, PD-L1 status of NSCLC was predicted by FDG PET/CT with sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 65.4%, 86.7%, and 80.7%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: PD-L1 expression of NSCLC was related to SUVmax, TLG, man, smoking, and central location. However, only SUVmax was an independent predictor of PD-L1 positivity, which could help to explore the existence of immune checkpoints.