A Dysfunctional T-cell Gene Signature for Predicting Nonresponse to PD-1 Blockade in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer That Is Suitable for Routine Clinical Diagnostics.



The PD-1T mRNA signature showed a similar high sensitivity and high NPV as the digital IHC quantification of PD-1T TIL. This finding provides a straightforward approach allowing for easy implementation in a routine diagnostic clinical setting.


Regularized regression analysis yielded a signature using 12 out of 56 differentially expressed genes between PD-1T IHC-high tumors from patients with DC 12 m and PD-1T IHC-low tumors from patients with progressive disease (PD). In the validation cohort, 6/6 (100%) patients with DC 12 m and 23/36 (64%) with PD were correctly classified with a negative predictive value (NPV) of 100% and a positive predictive value of 32%.


mRNA expression analysis using the NanoString nCounter platform was performed in baseline tumor samples from 41 patients with advanced-stage NSCLC treated with nivolumab that were selected on the basis of PD-1T TIL infiltration by IHC. Samples were included as a training cohort (n = 41) to develop a predictive gene signature. This signature was independently validated in a second cohort (n = 42). Primary outcome was disease control at 12 months (DC 12 m), and secondary outcome was progression-free and overall survival.


Because PD-1 blockade is only effective in a minority of patients with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), biomarkers are needed to guide treatment decisions. Tumor infiltration by PD-1T tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), a dysfunctional TIL pool with tumor-reactive capacity, can be detected by digital quantitative IHC and has been established as a novel predictive biomarker in NSCLC. To facilitate translation of this biomarker to the clinic, we aimed to develop a robust RNA signature reflecting a tumor's PD-1T TIL status.

More about this publication

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Volume 30
  • Issue nr. 4
  • Pages 814-823
  • Publication date 16-02-2024

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