Interobserver Reliability of Programmed Cell Death Ligand-1 Scoring Using the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP263) Assay in NSCLC

Gareth H. Williams*, Andrew G. Nicholson, David R.J. Snead, Erik Thunnissen, Sylvie Lantuejoul, Paul Cane, Keith M. Kerr, Marco Loddo, Marietta L.J. Scott, Paul W. Scorer, Craig Barker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: The VENTANA PD-L1 (SP263) Assay is approved for use with anti–programmed cell death-1/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) therapies in NSCLC and urothelial carcinoma. Here, we investigate interobserver reliability of the SP263 assay, applied to PD-L1 scoring of tumor cells (TCs) in NSCLC. Methods: Six practicing European pulmonary pathologists independently scored the proportion of TCs expressing PD-L1 (TC score) from 200 archival, commercially sourced, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded NSCLC resections stained using the SP263 assay. Agreement in scores was analyzed using the intraclass correlation coefficient and concordance in patient's classification using Fleiss’ kappa. Results: Results from 172 samples showed strong pair-wise correlations between pathologists (R2 >0.89) for TC scoring with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.96. Overall agreement was greater than 90% for TC of 1% and above, and greater than 94% for TCs of at least 25% and at least 50%. Fleiss’ kappa showed substantial agreement for TC of 1% and above, and almost perfect agreement for TCs of at least 25% and at least 50%. Conclusions: Assessment of TC score in NSCLC was highly reproducible using the SP263 assay, building confidence in the accuracy of this assay in selection of patients for anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-555
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Cite this