The expression of PD-L1 by tumor cells is mainly associated with its immunosuppressive effect. In fact, PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors demonstrated remarkable effects in advanced cancer patients including HNSCC. In this context, irradiation is currently being investigated as a synergistic treatment modality to immunotherapy. However, the majority of HNSCC patients still show little improvement or even hyperprogression. Interestingly, there is increasing evidence for additional cell-intrinsic functions of PD-L1 in tumor cells. In previous studies, we showed that PD-L1 has a strong influence on proliferation, migration, invasion, and survival after irradiation. We demonstrated that cellular expression and localization of PD-L1 differed depending on sensitivity to irradiation. Here, we show that PD-L1 is also differentially expressed during cell cycle progression of HNSCC. Furthermore, cellular localization of PD-L1 also changes depending on a particular cell cycle phase. Moreover, distinct observations occurred depending on the general differentiation status. Overall, the function of PD-L1 cannot be generalized. Rather, it depends on the differentiation status and microenvironment. PD-L1 expression and localization are variable, depending on different factors. These findings may provide insight into why differential response to PD-1/PD-L1 antibody therapy can occur. Detailed understanding of cell-intrinsic PD-L1 functions will further allow antibody-based immunotherapy to be optimized.