PD-L1 expression in melanoma correlates with response to PD-1 pathway-blocking antibodies. Aberrant tumor-cell PD-L1 expression may be oncogene driven and/or induced by IFNγ. Melanomas express PD-L1 in association with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), but the potential contribution of the BRAF V600E mutation (BRAFmut) to induced PD-L1 expression has not been determined. Fifty-two archival melanocytic lesions were assessed for PD-L1 expression, TIL infiltration, and BRAFmut simultaneously. IFNγ-induced PD-L1 expression in cultured melanomas was assessed in parallel according to BRAF status. Melanocyte PD-L1 expression was observed in 40% of specimens, and BRAFmut was observed in 42% of specimens, but no significant concordance was found between these variables. Almost all melanocytes displaying PD-L1 expression were observed to be adjacent to TILs, irrespective of BRAF status. TIL- lesions were not more likely to be associated with BRAFmut, when compared with TIL+ lesions. Baseline expression of PD-L1 by melanoma cell lines was virtually nil, regardless of BRAFmut status, and the intensity of IFN-induced PD-L1 expression in melanoma cell lines likewise did not correlate with BRAF mutational status. PD-L1 expression in melanocytic lesions does not correlate with the BRAFmut. Thus, distinct populations of melanoma patients will likely benefit from BRAF inhibitors versus PD-1 pathway blockade.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research