Background Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the cancer therapy landscape due to long-term benefits in patients with advanced metastatic disease. However, robust predictive biomarkers for response are still lacking and treatment resistance is not fully understood. Methods We profiled approximately 800 pre-treatment and on-treatment plasma proteins from 143 ICI-treated patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using ELISA-based arrays. Different clinical parameters were collected from the patients including specific mutations, smoking habits, and body mass index, among others. Machine learning algorithms were used to identify a predictive signature for response. Bioinformatics tools were used for the identification of patient subtypes and analysis of differentially expressed proteins and pathways in each response group. Results We identified a predictive signature for response to treatment comprizing two proteins (CXCL8 and CXCL10) and two clinical parameters (age and sex). Bioinformatic analysis of the proteomic profiles identified three distinct patient clusters that correlated with multiple parameters such as response, sex and TNM (tumors, nodes, and metastasis) staging. Patients who did not benefit from ICI therapy exhibited significantly higher plasma levels of several proteins on-treatment, and enrichment in neutrophil-related proteins. Conclusions Our study reveals potential biomarkers in blood plasma for predicting response to ICI therapy in patients with NSCLC and sheds light on mechanisms underlying therapy resistance.
Harel, M., Lahav, C., Jacob, E., Dahan, N., Sela, I., Elon, Y., … Shaked, Y. (2022). Longitudinal plasma proteomic profiling of patients with non-small cell lung cancer undergoing immune checkpoint blockade. Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2022-004582