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Dynamic Biomarkers of Response to Anti-Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Cancer

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submitted on 2024-05-07, 07:45 and posted on 2024-05-07, 08:32 authored by Said Dermime, Maysaloun Merhi, Taha Merghoub, Nabil E. Omar

Immune response modulation has allowed for breakthrough progress in the treatment of many solid as well as haematological malignancies. To date, immune check-point inhibitors have been approved as first or second line therapy options in a broadening range of metastatic cancer and increasingly explored in the treatment of early stage tumors. The success of checkpoint inhibitors therapies relies on the observation of potentially long lasting responses in a limited subset of patients, ranging from 10% to 40%, depending on the malignancy subtype. However, in the remaining administered patients, these novel treatments provide a more restricted and shorter lasting effect. Efforts have been made to identify predictive factors of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors, with the aim to prescribe them to patients with a high probability of response and avoid to expose non-responder subjects to their potential side effects. Whilst a range of biomarkers have been investigated, their predictive potential remains unsatisfactory and, to date, the only biomarker used in clinical practice is PD-L1, whose expression in tumor tissues is predictive of response to PD-1 immune checkpoint blockade. However, a proportion, albeit small, of patients with absent PD-L1 tumor expression may still respond to PD-1 blockade, making it difficult to restrict prescription of these therapies solely based on this biomarker. Although other biomarkers have been identified, including tumor mutation burden, mismatch repair deficiency status, immune tumor microenvironment, circulating immune cells and host gut microbiota, none of the candidates tested to date has shown sufficient predictive power to enable their application in the clinical practice. Hence, the search for a biomarker of response to checkpoint inhibitors remains an unmet need.

Editors: Said Dermine, Maysaloun Merhi, Taha Merghoub.

Other Information

Published in: Frontiers Research Topics (Frontiers in Immunology and Frontiers in Oncology)
See book on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU
  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • National Center for Cancer Care and Research - HMC
  • Interim Translational Research Institute - HMC