The Value of PD-L1 Expression as Predictive Biomarker in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are soluble antibodies that have dramatically changed the outcomes including overall survival in a subset of kidney tumors, specifically in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). To date, there is no a single predictive biomarker approved to be used to select the patients that achieve benefit from ICIs targeting. It seems reasonable to analyze whether the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression could be useful. To assess the role of PD-L1 expression as a potential
... redictive biomarker for benefit of ICIs in RCC patients, we performed a search of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing ICIs (monotherapy or in combination with other therapies) to standard of care in metastatic RCC patients according to PRISMA guidelines. Trials must have included subgroup analyses evaluating the selected outcomes (progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS)) in different subsets of patients according to PD-L1 expression on tumor samples. Hazard ratios with confidence intervals were used as the measure of efficacy between groups. A total of 4635 patients (six studies) were included (ICIs arm: 2367 patients; standard of care arm: 2268 patients). Globally, PFS and OS results favored ICIs. Differential expression of PD-L1 on tumor samples could select a subset of patients who could benefit more in terms of PFS (those with higher levels; p-value for difference between subgroups: <0.0001) but it did not seem to impact in OS results (p-value for difference: 0.63). As different methods to assess PD-L1 positivity were used among trials, this heterogeneity could have an influence on the results. PD-L1 could represent a biomarker to test PFS in clinical trials but its value for OS is less clear. In this meta-analysis, the usefulness of PD-L1 expression as a predictive biomarker to select treatment in metastatic RCC patients was not clearly shown.