1522.1 – PD-L1 (Programmed Death-Ligand 1) immunohistochemistry testing for access to pembrolizumab as first-line therapy for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Page last updated: 21 February 2022

Application Detail

Description of Medical Service

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) test for evaluation of Programmed Cell Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression to determine eligibility for treatment with pembrolizumab in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The biopsy sample taken as part of a standard diagnostic process will be used for immunohistochemical testing with PD-L1. The testing would be done by a pathologist alongside other immunohistochemical tests which are done routinely.

Description of Medical Condition

Recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Head and neck cancer includes tumours arising from the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, thyroid and salivary glands. Individuals who have progressed following initial definitive treatment have recurrent disease and require subsequent treatment. Patient who present with metastatic disease generally receive the same therapy as those with recurrent disease following initial definitive treatment.

Reason for Application

New MBS item

Medical Service Type

PBAC Co-dependent technology

Previous Application Number


Associated Documentation

Application Form

Refer to previous application

Consultation Survey

Consultation Survey (PDF 684 KB)
Consultation Survey (Word 72 KB)

PICO Confirmation

Refer to previous application

Assessment Report


Public Summary Document

Public Summary Document (PDF 1037 KB)
Public Summary Document (Word 566 KB)

Meetings for this Application




7-8 October 2021


25-26 November 2021