Monitoring PD-L1 positive circulating tumor cells in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor Nivolumab.

Sci Rep 2016 08 24;6:31726. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Circulating tumor cells Unit, Sapienza University of Rome.

Controversial results on the predictive value of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status in lung tumor tissue for response to immune checkpoint inhibitors do not allow for any conclusive consideration. Liquid biopsy might allow real-time sampling of patients for PD-L1 through the course of the disease. Twenty-four stage IV NSCLC patients included in the Expanded Access Program with Nivolumab were enrolled. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were analyzed by CellSearch with anti-human B7-H1/PD-L1 PE-conjugated antibody. PD-L1 expressing CTCs were assessed at baseline, at 3 and 6 months after starting therapy, and correlated with outcome. At baseline and at 3 months of treatment, the presence of CTCs and the expression of PD-L1 on their surface were found associated to poor patients outcome. Nevertheless, the high frequency of PD-L1 expressing CTCs hampered to discriminate the role of PD-L1 in defining prognosis. Conversely although CTCs were found in all patients 6 months after treatment, at this time patients could be dichotomized into two groups based PD-L1 expression on CTCs. Patients with PD-L1 negative CTCs all obtained a clinical benefit, while patients with PD-L1 (+) CTCs all experienced progressive disease. This suggests that the persistence of PD-L1(+) CTCs might mirror a mechanism of therapy escape.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep31726DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4995431PMC
August 2016
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