Biomarkers Can Help Predict Response to Immune-Checkpoint Blockade in GI Cancer

By Reuters Staff

August 03, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Serological markers can help predict how patients with metastatic gastrointestinal-tract cancer will respond to immune-checkpoint blockade (ICB), according to Chinese researchers.

The response to ICB therapy ranges from 10% to 30% in GI cancer, Dr. Lin Shen of Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, in Beijing, and colleagues note in JAMA Network Open, online July 24. Few predictive biomarkers are available, they add.

The researchers examined serum samples from 56 patients at baseline and after starting ICB treatment. Multiplexed bead immunoassays were used to simultaneously measure levels of 59 serum proteins.

At baseline, the five patients with hyperprogressive disease (HPD) had significantly lower mean levels of serum monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (53.4 pg/mL vs. 106.4 pg/mL). They also had lower levels of leukemia inhibitory factor and higher levels of cluster of differentiation 152.

Of the 51 patients without HPD, interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) levels decreased in responders by 18.79% and increased in nonresponders by 41.47%. This was the case in the 13 patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and in the 13 with colorectal cancer.

Early decreases in IL-1RA were associated with longer progression-free survival in both of these groups.

In the 14 patients with gastric cancer, early change in IL-1RA levels did not distinguish responders from nonresponders. However, responders in this group showed increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels by 44.77% while nonresponders showed a drop of 26.2%.

The researchers call for further studies but state that the factors identified "were better able to identify who would respond to ICB compared with microsatellite stability status or programmed cell death ligand 1 expression."

Dr. Shen did not respond to requests for comments.


JAMA Netw Open 2019.