Comparison of three FDA-approved diagnostic immunohistochemistry assays of PD-L1 in triple-negative breast carcinoma

Xiao Huang, Qingqing Ding, Hua Guo, Yun Gong, Jun Zhao, Min Zhao, Dawen Sui, Yun Wu, Hui Chen, Hui Liu, Jinxia Zhang, Erika Resetkova, Stacy L. Moulder, Wei Lien Wang, Lei Huo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dako 28–8, Dako 22C3, and Ventana SP142 assays are among the approved programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemical companion/complementary diagnostics associated with cancer treatment. To address the concordance of these assays in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), we examined PD-L1 expression in 98 TNBC tumors and compared the positive rates using the three assays and three scoring methods: immune cell (IC), tumor cell (TC), and combined tumor cell and immune cell (TCIC) (an equivalent to combined positive score, or CPS). The positive rate for PD-L1 expression with a 1% cutoff was highest with 28–8, followed by the 22C3. These two assays demonstrated almost perfect or substantial agreement in all three scores. There was less agreement between SP142 and the other assays. Using the IC score or the TCIC score at a 1% cutoff (CPS 1), 4% of tumors were positive for PD-L1 with SP142 but negative with the other assays. Using SP142 with a 1% cutoff as a reference, the optimal cutoff for best agreement was at 1% for IC, 30% for TC, and 2% for TCIC (CPS 2) with the other two assays. A 2% cutoff for the 22C3 TCIC (CPS 2) yielded the best agreement with SP142 1% IC cutoff (kappa 0.65). Our study showed the lowest positive rate with SP142 among the three assays. However, the other two assays were not able to identify all tumors that would test positive with SP142 using IC or TCIC/CPS. It is unlikely to achieve high agreement between SP142 and the other two assays by changing the analytical cutoffs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • 22C3
  • 28–8
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PD-L1
  • SP142
  • Triple-negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

MD Anderson CCSG core facilities

  • Biostatistics


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