Research Article

Pan-tumor genomic biomarkers for PD-1 checkpoint blockade–based immunotherapy

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Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, eaar3593
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3593

Mining immunotherapy clinical trials

Clinical trial data can provide a wealth of information about how drugs work. Yet such information often belongs to pharmaceutical companies and is rarely accessible to the scientific community at large. Cristescu et al. provide exploratory analysis of a cancer genomics dataset, collected from four separate clinical trials of Merck's PD-1 immunotherapy drug, pembrolizumab. This informative public resource examines more than 300 patient samples representing 22 different tumor types. Two widely used signatures that currently predict immunotherapy response are tumor mutational burden and a “hot” T cell–inflamed microenvironment. The study analyzed these two proposed biomarkers in combination to see what predictive clinical utility they may hold.

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