Implementation of PD-L1 22C3 IHC pharmDxTM in Cell Block Preparations of Lung Cancer: Concordance with Surgical Resections and Technical Validation of CytoLyt® Prefixation

Lung Cancer

Lou SK, et al. Acta Cytol 2020.


BACKGROUND: Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) is used as biomarker for pembrolizumab therapy in advanced stage lung cancer patients. However, data permitting direct performance comparison between cytology and surgical specimen types are limited since both specimens from a single tumor site are infrequently available. In addition, alcohol fixation used with cytology specimens requires technical validation of the PD-L1 IHC assay before clinical use. We here report our experience with implementation of the PD-L1 22C3 IHC pharmDxTM assay for cytologic samples at a large tertiary cancer center.

STUDY DESIGN: Archival formalin-fixed (FF), paraffin-embedded cell blocks (CBs) and subsequent lung tumor resections (LTRs) from the same anatomical site were used for a direct comparison of PD-L1 tumor proportion scores (TPSs). TPS values were independently determined by one surgical lung pathologist and two cytopathologists blinded to the specimen pairs. An interim analysis was performed to facilitate the pooling of expertise among observers. After PD-L1 22C3 IHC pharmDxTM implementation for FF cytology specimens, dual-processed samples were used for a prospective technical validation of CytoLyt® prefixation (CF). Digital image analysis was performed for a subset of dual-processed specimens.

RESULTS: Eighty-one CBs and LTRs were included for comparison of the specimen types. PD-L1 assessment in CBs had an accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 88.9/72.8, 66.7/73.5, 95.2/72.3, 80.0/65.8, and 90.9/79.1% for the ≥50/≥1% cutoff, respectively. The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.84 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76, 0.90), and it improved after interim analysis (before: 0.79 and after: 0.92). The overall concordance between CF and FF for the categories defined by the ≥50/≥1% cutoff values was 90.4% (95% CI: 79.0, 96.8). Similar assay performance was confirmed by digital analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: PD-L1 22C3 IHC pharmDxTM shows good reliability if used with CB preparations. CF does not impact assay results significantly. Clinical validation with outcome data is needed, and digital methods of assessment should be further investigated.