Immune checkpoint inhibitors have been approved as second-line therapy for patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC). However, which patients will obtain clinical benefit remains to be determined. To identify predictive biomarkers for the pembrolizumab (PEM) response early during treatment, the present study investigated 31 patients with chemotherapy-resistant recurrent or metastatic UC who received 200 mg PEM intravenously every 3 weeks. Blood was taken just before the first dose and again before the second dose, and the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of all 31 pairs of blood samples were immune phenotyped by flow cytometry. Data were assessed by principal component analysis (PCA), correlation analysis and Cox proportional hazards modeling in order to comprehensively determine the effects of PEM on peripheral mononuclear immune cells. Absolute counts of CD45RA+CD27-CCR7- terminally differentiated CD8+ T cells and KLRG1+CD57+ senescent CD8+ T cells were significantly increased after PEM administration (P=0.042 and P=0.043, respectively). Senescent and exhausted CD4+ and CD8+ T cell dynamics were strongly associated with each other. By contrast, counts of monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (mMDSCs) were not associated with other immune cell phenotypes. The results of PCA and non-hierarchical clus-tering of patients suggested that excessive T cell senescence and differentiation early during treatment were not neces-sarily associated with a survival benefit. However, decreased mMDSC counts after PEM were associated with improved overall survival. In conclusion, early on-treatment peripheral T cell status was associated with response to PEM; however, it was not associated with clinical benefit. By contrast, decreased peripheral mMDSC counts did predict improved overall survival.
- anti-programmed cell death protein 1 therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research