Front Oncol. 2020 Jun 25;10:1079. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01079. eCollection 2020.
Background: Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) is an immune checkpoint molecule expressed by cancer cells. Previous studies have demonstrated the prognostic role of PD-L1 expression in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), where the results were inconsistent. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to identify the prognostic impact of PD-L1 on SCLC. Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, ISI Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases for articles published before and on March 2nd, 2020. Data of PD-L1 expression in tumor cells detected using immunohistochemistry methods were extracted for analysis. Pooled hazard ratios (HRs) with confidence intervals (CIs) and odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs were calculated to assess the correlations among PD-L1, overall survival (OS), and clinicopathological factors. Results: Nine studies of 921 patients published between 2015 and 2019 were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled data (HR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.46-1.80, p = 0.787) indicated that PD-L1 expression is not a significant predictor of poor OS. Moreover, the results also revealed that PD-L1 expression is not significantly associated with gender (OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 0.73-1.74, p = 0.601), age (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 0.58-2.30, p = 0.683), pN stage (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.24-1.72, p = 0.381), pT stage (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 0.26-5.23, p = 0.847), serum lactate dehydrogenase level (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 0.13-8.43, p = 0.958), or performance status (OR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.24-1.95, p = 0.479). No significant publication bias was detected in this meta-analysis. Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests that PD-L1 expression is not a significant prognostic factor of poor survival in SCLC. Because of significant variations, high-quality studies are needed to validate our results.