Everything You Should Know About PDL-1 Lung Cancer Testing

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Everything You Should Know About PDL-1 Lung Cancer Testing

Before moving towards the PDL-1 lung cancer here we are giving a short overview of lung cancer so, Your lungs are two spongy organs in your thorax that bring in oxygen when you breathe and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. Lung cancer is the leading reason for cancer deaths worldwide. People who smoke have a substantial risk of lung cancer but it also developed in those people who have never smoked before. Here is a short overview of lung cancer. Let’s move towards PDL-1 lung cancer;

What is PDL-1? 

The full form of PDL-1 is Programmed death-ligand 1. The PDL1 testing is applied to observe if you have cancer that may good from immunotherapy. This test estimates the quantity of PDL1 on cancer cells. PDL1 is a protein that assists keep immune cells from invading nonharmful cells in the body. Our immune system is also known as the defence system of our body that fights against germs. Some cancer cells have great volumes of PDL1. 

PDL-1 function 

PDL-1 is sometimes also found in normal cells as well. When PD-L1 sticks to another protein called PD-1, it retains T cells from destroying the PD-L1-containing cells, including the cancer cells. Anticancer medications called immune checkpoint inhibitors to attach to PD-L1 and obstruct its binding to PD-1. This breaks the “hurdles” on the immune system and goes T cells free to kill cancer cells. If your cancers have a very high amount of PDL-1 so you might get benefit from immunotherapy. 

What is immunotherapy? 

Immunotherapy is a procedure that works with certain portions of a person’s immune system to fight conditions such as cancer. In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an essential part of managing any kind of cancer. Fresh immunotherapy approaches are being tested and confirmed.  Here is a big question like how it works? 

  • Energizing or improving the natural defenses of your immune system so it performs quickly or smartly to detect and beat cancer cells. 
  • Making bases in a lab that are quite like immune system components and using them to rebuild or boost the immune system that helps to fight the cells. 

PDL-1 lung cancer immunotherapy

The fresh confirmation of immunotherapy as a really hopeful way to Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) therapy is one of the common exciting progress in the history of lung cancer therapy. This improvement of immunotherapy in cancer treatment can be broadly attributed to the evolution of novel immunotherapy drugs targeting specific immune regulatory checkpoints and intensifying the endogenous antitumor immune feedback. 

Why do I require a PDL-1 test? 

A protein found on T cells (a type of immune cell) that assists keep the body’s immune responses in check. If you have one of following cancer you may need PDL-1 testing. A high level of PDL-1 may need immunotherapy. PD-L1 testing is required before treatment with some drugs.

  • Lung cancer 
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Hodgkin lymphoma

Preparations for PDL-1 lung cancer testing

In several cases preparation is minimum. The procedure preparation usually depends on how the collection is being performed. Your health care practitioner gives you the instructions like how we will get the sample. A sample of cancer cells will be collected from a biopsy or surgical removal of cancerous tissue. 

Procedure of PDL-1 lung cancer testing

It is usually done in the form of biopsy so here are 3 types of biopsies; 

PDL-1 lung cancer
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy, which uses a very thin syringe to remove a specimen of cells or fluid
  • Core needle biopsy, which uses a larger syringe to exclude a sample
  • Surgical biopsy, which removes a sample in a lesser. It may perform in a surgical setup

Steps of fine needle and core needle biopsy

  • You will put it down on your side or sit on an exam table.
  • A health care provider will disinfect the biopsy site. 
  • Might give anaesthesia to the procedure site so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
  • Once the area is numb the health care provider will insert a fine aspiration needle or core biopsy needle into the biopsy place and eliminate a sample of tissue or fluid.
  • You may feel a slight pressure when the sample is eliminated.
  • Pressure will be implemented to the biopsy site until the bleeding ends.
  • Your provider will apply a sterile dressing at the biopsy site.

Steps of surgical biopsy

A surgeon will make a small incision in your skin to remove all or part of a cancer site. A surgical biopsy is seldom performed if the site can’t be approached with a needle biopsy. It includes the following steps; 

  • First, you have to shave the site if needed 
  • After that asked patient to lie on the OT table 
  • IV will be placed in your arm or hand 
  • Sedative or relaxant medicine might be given
  • You will given local or general anaesthesia so you won’t feel any kind of pain on the biopsy site
  • General anaesthesia might be given by a health care provider and general is given by an anesthesiologist. 
  • Once the site is numb or you are unconscious the surgeon makes an incision to the site to remove the cancerous tissues or fluid. 
  • The incision is closed by stitches or bandages by the surgical technologist

Risks after PDL-lung cancer test

After the biopsy has been done and the sample is achieved. It might b possible to develop the infection after a PDL-lung cancer biopsy so your doctor may recommend you some antibiotics which can treat your infections. If you have to go through with surgical biopsy so you might suffer from deep pain and discomfort so your doctor might recommend you some pain killers and antibiotics to get feel better and relax. 

What does the PDL-1 lung cancer test show?

The result might show that PDL-1 is absent or present in tumor tissue or it may report the specific score for the test. If PD-L1 protein is being on the tumor tissue, then you may be a good candidate for the immunotherapy medication being considered. Not every person who has cancer with enhanced PD-L1 will react to the immunotherapy, however, and your response may modify over time. A negative result means that inadequate PD-L1 identified in the sample tested. The amount of PD-L1 can sometimes vary in different sections of the tumor. 

Is there any other type of test except biopsy?

No there is no other test approved yet other than biopsy. For the tumor or lung cancer diagnosis, you will need a tissue biopsy. Tissue cells from this biopsy are also required for PD-L1 examination.


Lung cancer is the leading reason of cancer deaths worldwide. The PDL1 testing is applied to observe if you have cancer that may good from immunotherapy. If the PDL-1 is increased it means you are good for immunotherapy, it can be performed in labs and surgical setup. This test is performed by three types of biopsies. If you develop pain or infection after PDL-1 lung cancer biopsy so your doctor may recommend medication to make you feel comfortable and relax.