Impact of Prolonged Ischemia on the Immunohistochemical Expression of Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1)

Barberà A, González J, Martin M, Mate JL, Oriol A, Martínez-Soler F, Santalucia T, Fernández PL.


Antibodies targeting programmed death receptor 1 or programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) have become a standard of care to treat different cancers; for some of these tumors, there is a correlation between tissue expression of PD-L1 and response rates in patients. Although most of the analytical challenges in the evaluation of PD-L1 expression have been standardized, preanalytical issues have been less explored. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of time of ischemia on the performance of 2 commonly used antibodies against PD-L1. Sixteen tonsillectomy samples were kept in ischemia for <30 minutes from sample obtention (control) and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hours at room temperature before formalin fixation and paraffin embedding. Selected areas were inserted into TMA paraffin recipient blocks stained with SP142 and SP263 antibodies and evaluated by 2 blind observers. The proportion of suboptimally stained samples was significantly higher for samples with cold ischemia times 6 hours or over (P<0.0001). False-negative results were 25% in samples exposed to 6 hours of ischemia and raised to 34% for samples remaining in ischemia for 12 or 24 hours. When all observations were pooled, SP142 provided suboptimal results in 24% of observations and SP263 in 12.5%; this is a statistically significant difference (P=0.042). In conclusion, the quality of staining for PD-L1 in tonsil samples varies with the time of cold ischemia. The SP142 antibody presented a significantly lower tolerance to prolonged cold ischemia than SP263. These results reveal the relevance of controlled preanalytical processing of samples.

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