The following article features coverage from the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) who had tumors with high expression of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) has significantly worse overall survival compared with those with lower levels of PD-L1 expression, according to the results of a recent study.

These results indicate that tumor PD-L1 expression is a “biomarker for tumors with aggressive clinical behavior in patients undergoing surgical resection for MPM and may be useful in perioperative decision making in the clinic,” researchers wrote.

First, the researchers performed a meta-analysis including data on 1655 patients with MPM across 14 studies containing information on overall survival and PD-L1 expression, which showed that high tumor PD-L1 expression was associated with poor overall survival.

Continue Reading

Next, they conducted univariable and multivariable analyses to test this relationship in a cohort of 75 patients with MPM treated with macroscopic complete resection. Among these patients, 65% had tumors that expressed PD-L1 at a rate of 1% or higher. High tumor PD-L1 expression (50% or greater) was more commonly found in nonepithelial (29%) compared with epithelial (14%) tumors.

PD-L1 expression of 50% of greater was independently associated with unfavorable overall survival (HR, 5.67); P <.001) and worse recurrence-free survival (HR, 3.28; P =.003).

Finally, the researchers wanted to validate the prognostic role of PD-L1 expression using independent cohorts. They designed a transcriptome-based PD-L1 signature representative of high and low PD-L1 expression, and classified these cohorts into these 2 categories. In both cohorts, patients with high expression of this biomarker had significantly worse overall survival.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the 2020 SABCS meeting by visiting the conference page.


Lee H-S, Hamaji M, Palivela N, et al. Prognostic role of programmed cell death 1 ligand (PD-L1) in resectable pleural mesothelioma. Ann Thorac Surg. Published online November 26, 2020. doi:10.1016/j/athoracsur.2020.10.031