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Scientific article
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Neoadjuvant treatment does not influence PD-L1 expression in stage III non-small-cell lung cancer: a retrospective analysis of tumor samples from the trials SAKK 16/96, 16/00, 16/01, and 16/14

Published inESMO open, vol. 8, no. 4, 101595
Publication date2023-07-11
First online date2023-07-11
Abstract

Background: The inclusion of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in the treatment of operable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer is becoming a new standard. Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) protein expression on tumor cells has emerged as the most important biomarker for sensitivity to ICIs targeting the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)-PD-L1 axis. Little is known about the impact of neoadjuvant treatment on PD-L1 expression.

Patients and methods: We assessed PD-L1 expression by immunohistochemistry (Ventana SP263 assay) on tumor cells in treatment-naive diagnostic tumor samples and matched lung resections from patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer included in the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) trials 16/96, 16/00, 16/01, and 16/14. All patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (CT) with cisplatin/docetaxel, either as single modality (CT), with sequential radiotherapy [chemoradiation therapy (CRT)] or with the PD-L1 inhibitor durvalumab (CT + ICI).

Results: Overall, 132 paired tumor samples were analyzed from patients with neoadjuvant CT (n = 69), CRT (n = 33) and CT + ICI (n = 30). For CT and CRT, PD-L1 expression before and after neoadjuvant treatment did not differ significantly (Wilcoxon test, P = 0.94). Likewise, no statistically significant difference was observed between CT and CRT for PD-L1 expression after neoadjuvant treatment (P = 0.97). For CT + ICI, PD-L1 expression before and after neoadjuvant treatment also did not differ significantly (Wilcoxon test, P > 0.99). Event-free survival and overall survival for patients with downregulation or upregulation of PD-L1 expression after neoadjuvant treatment were similar.

Conclusions: In our cohort of patients neoadjuvant treatment did not influence PD-L1 expression, irrespective of the specific neoadjuvant treatment protocol. Dynamic change of PD-L1 expression did not correlate with event-free survival or overall survival.

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Keywords
  • PD-L1 expression
  • Chemoradiation
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Predictive biomarker
Citation (ISO format)
KÖNIG, D et al. Neoadjuvant treatment does not influence PD-L1 expression in stage III non-small-cell lung cancer: a retrospective analysis of tumor samples from the trials SAKK 16/96, 16/00, 16/01, and 16/14. In: ESMO open, 2023, vol. 8, n° 4, p. 101595. doi: 10.1016/j.esmoop.2023.101595
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ISSN of the journal2059-7029
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