Gut microbiome affects the response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Gut microbiome affects the response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Immunother Cancer. 2019 07 23;7(1):193

Authors: Zheng Y, Wang T, Tu X, Huang Y, Zhang H, Tan D, Jiang W, Cai S, Zhao P, Song R, Li P, Qin N, Fang W

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Checkpoint-blockade immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) has recently shown promising efficacy in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the factors affecting and predicting the response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in HCC are still unclear. Herein, we report the dynamic variation characteristics and specificities of the gut microbiome during anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in HCC using metagenomic sequencing.
RESULTS: Fecal samples from patients responding to immunotherapy showed higher taxa richness and more gene counts than those of non-responders. For dynamic analysis during anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, the dissimilarity of beta diversity became prominent across patients as early as Week 6. In non-responders, Proteobacteria increased from Week 3, and became predominant at Week 12. Twenty responder-enriched species, including Akkermansia muciniphila and Ruminococcaceae spp., were further identified. The related functional genes and metabolic pathway analysis, such as carbohydrate metabolism and methanogenesis, verified the potential bioactivities of responder-enriched species.
CONCLUSIONS: Gut microbiome may have a critical impact on the responses of HCC patients treated with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. The dynamic variation characteristics of the gut microbiome may provide early predictions of the outcomes of immunotherapy in HCC, which is critical for disease-monitoring and treatment decision-making.

PMID: 31337439 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]