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12.09.2019 | Original Article

Peripheral changes in immune cell populations and soluble mediators after anti-PD-1 therapy in non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma patients

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Estefanía Paula Juliá, Pablo Mandó, Manglio Miguel Rizzo, Gerardo Rubén Cueto, Florencia Tsou, Romina Luca, Carmen Pupareli, Alicia Inés Bravo, Walter Astorino, José Mordoh, Claudio Martín, Estrella Mariel Levy
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00262-019-02391-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have shown benefit from anti-PD-1 therapies. However, not all patients experience tumor shrinkage, durable responses or prolonged survival, demonstrating the need to find response markers. In blood samples from NSCLC and RCC patients obtained before and after anti-PD-1 treatment, we studied leukocytes by complete blood cell count, lymphocyte subsets using flow cytometry and plasma concentration of nine soluble mediators, in order to find predictive biomarkers of response and to study changes produced after anti-PD-1 therapy. In baseline samples, discriminant analysis revealed a combination of four variables that helped differentiate stable disease-response (SD-R) from progressive disease (PD) patients: augmented frequency of central memory CD4+ T cells and leukocyte count was associated with response while increased percentage of PD-L1+ natural killer cells and naïve CD4+ T cells was associated with lack of response. After therapy, differential changes between responders and non-responders were found in leukocytes, T cells and TIM-3+ T cells. Patients with progressive disease showed an increase in the frequency of TIM-3 expressing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, whereas SD-R patients showed a decrease in these subsets. Our findings indicate that a combination of immune variables from peripheral blood (PB) could be useful to distinguish response groups in NSCLC and RCC patients treated with anti-PD-1 therapy. Frequency of TIM-3+ T cells showed differential changes after treatment in PD vs SD-R patients, suggesting that it may be an interesting marker for monitoring progression during therapy.

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