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May 2016

The Value of PD-L1 Testing in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California–Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(5):571-572. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0043

Will the need for programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) testing affect the use of checkpoint inhibitors in non–small-cell lung cancer? Yes.

Two agents, nivolumab and pembrolizumab, directed against the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of previously treated non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).13 Nivolumab is approved with no requirement for programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, whereas pembrolizumab is approved only in patients whose tumors express PD-L1. As a result of these differing approvals, substantial debate has arisen regarding the appropriate role of PD-L1 testing to select patients for therapy.

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