J Cancer 2020; 11(12):3596-3603. doi:10.7150/jca.35738

Research Paper

Determination of the Expression of PD-L1 in the Morphologic Spectrum of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Beatriz Walter1, Sara Gil1, Xu Naizhen1, Michael J Kruhlak2, W Marston Linehan3, Ramaprasad Srinivasan3, Maria J Merino1✉

1. Translational Surgical Pathology Section, Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.
2. Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.
3. Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.

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Citation:
Walter B, Gil S, Naizhen X, Kruhlak MJ, Linehan WM, Srinivasan R, Merino MJ. Determination of the Expression of PD-L1 in the Morphologic Spectrum of Renal Cell Carcinoma. J Cancer 2020; 11(12):3596-3603. doi:10.7150/jca.35738. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v11p3596.htm

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Abstract

Immunotherapy is reportedly an effective form of therapy for some advanced cancers such as lung adenocarcinoma, malignant melanoma and colorectal adenocarcinoma. In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the role of immunotherapy is under investigation. Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a molecule expressed on the surface of certain tumor cells and binds to the Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) on cytotoxic T-cells, an interaction that inhibits the antitumor immune response. The aim of this study is to evaluate PD-L1 expression in the morphologic spectrum of RCC. A total of 172 cases of RCC comprising all types were studied and the PD-L1 was correlated with immune response for CD4 and CD8. Positive membranous staining for PD-L1 was seen in 59 (34%) of the 172 samples. The positive cases were HLRCC (31/53), Type 1 Papillary RCC (10/31), Chromophobe (7/20), Hybrid (3/9), TFE-3 related cancer (3/8), Undifferentiated (3/5), and TFEB tumors (2/2).

Clear cell carcinomas, Oncocytomas and SDHB deficient-RCC didn't show any expression of PD-L1; (0/34;0/7;0/3). Our results demonstrated that aggressive forms of RCC such as HLRCC have high expression of PD-L1, in contrast to clear cell renal carcinomas. Our findings support a possible role of anti-PD-L1/PD-1 immunotherapies in the treatment of PD-L1-positive RCC.

Keywords: PD-L1 expression, renal cell carcinoma, RCC histological subtypes, HLRCC