Melanoma response to immune therapyMar. 3, 2016, 4:00 PM
Anti-PD-1 therapy – a treatment that stimulates the immune system to attack tumors – produces responses in up to 40 percent of melanoma patients. Predictive markers of response are needed to optimize patient selection, improve treatment decision-making and minimize costs.
Justin Balko, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Douglas Johnson, M.D., and colleagues hypothesized that tumor expression of MHC-I and -II – proteins that “mark” tumor cells as targets for immune attack – may predict anti-PD-1 therapy response. Across 60 melanoma cell lines, the investigators found that MHC-II expression varied, while MHC-I expression was ubiquitous.
In two cohorts of melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 therapy, MHC-II expression on tumor cells was associated with therapeutic response, progression-free and overall survival.
These findings, reported in Nature Communications, show that melanoma-specific expression of the MHC-II protein HLA-DR identifies tumors that are more responsive to PD-1-targeted therapy. The authors propose using HLA-DR expression as a biomarker for response to anti-PD-1 therapies.
This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (grants CA181491, CA090652).
Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to email@example.com