Genomics of response to immune checkpoint therapies for cancer: implications for precision medicine.

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Genomics of response to immune checkpoint therapies for cancer: implications for precision medicine.

Genome Med. 2018 11 29;10(1):93

Authors: Conway JR, Kofman E, Mo SS, Elmarakeby H, Van Allen E

Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies, which potentiate the body’s natural immune response against tumor cells, have shown immense promise in the treatment of various cancers. Currently, tumor mutational burden (TMB) and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression are the primary biomarkers evaluated for clinical management of cancer patients across histologies. However, the wide range of responses has demonstrated that the specific molecular and genetic characteristics of each patient’s tumor and immune system must be considered to maximize treatment efficacy. Here, we review the various biological pathways and emerging biomarkers implicated in response to PD-(L)1 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) therapies, including oncogenic signaling pathways, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variability, mutation and neoantigen burden, microbiome composition, endogenous retroviruses (ERV), and deficiencies in chromatin remodeling and DNA damage repair (DDR) machinery. We also discuss several mechanisms that have been observed to confer resistance to ICB, such as loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), loss of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I/II expression, and activation of the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) pathways. Clinical trials testing the combination of PD-(L)1 or CTLA-4 blockade with molecular mediators of these pathways are becoming more common and may hold promise for improving treatment efficacy and response. Ultimately, some of the genes and molecular mechanisms highlighted in this review may serve as novel biological targets or therapeutic vulnerabilities to improve clinical outcomes in patients.

PMID: 30497521 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]