Neuropathological Studies| Volume 57, P149-151, November 2018

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PD-L1 expression in meningiomas

  • Mahlon D. Johnson
    Corresponding author at: Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Univ. of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave. Box 626, Rochester, NY 14623, United States.
    Dept. of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, United States
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Published:August 25, 2018DOI:


      • PD-L1 immunoreactivity was found in 4 of 58 meningiomas including low and high grades.
      • PD-L1 may be seen in occasional low grade as well as high grade meningiomas.
      • Screening for PD-L1 may be warranted in more than just WHO grade III tumors.


      The management of meningiomas, especially inoperable, previously irradiated recurrent and anaplastic meningiomas has been challenging due to the paucity of effective chemotherapy. Numerous studies suggest that tumor-mediated immunosuppression may facilitate progression of many malignancies. Recent identification of PD-L1 expression in some types of cancer cells has raised the possibility that its inhibition of host immunosurveillance may be part of the mechanism. Thus, tumor cell PD-L1 might be a useful new target for chemotherapy in PD-L1- bearing tumors. Several a monoclonal antibodies against PD-L1 are now in use in the management of treatment refractory or metastatic non-small cell carcinoma of the lung, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, melanoma and other malignancies. The extent of PD-L1 expression is not established in meningiomas. Depending on the degree of expression, anti-PD-L1, might be an effective treatment for meningiomas. In this study, we used a monoclonal antibody, approved by the FDA for clinical screening to evaluate PD-L1 expression in a series of 58 meningiomas including 13 with bone, brain or dural invasion. PD-L1 immunoreactivity was detected in 1 of 31 grade I, 1 of 16 grade II and 2 of 11 WHO grade III meningiomas. PD-L1 was seen in 1 grade II tumor invading brain and 1 grade III tumor invading bone but was not at sites of invasion. In each case, immunoreactivity was scored as limited. The findings suggest anti-PD-L1 therapy might be worth evaluating in a select number of positive tumors but its overall applicability may be limited.


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