Immune checkpoint blockade and biomarkers of clinical response in Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Lung Cancer

Scand J Immunol. 2020 Oct 4:e12980. doi: 10.1111/sji.12980. Online ahead of print.


Immunotherapy with PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors has revolutionized the treatment for patients with NSCLC the last years with increased overall survival and in particular increased number of long-time survivors in patients with metastatic disease. It is now a treatment of choice for patients with distant metastases (stage IV) and in conjunction with chemoradiotherapy for patients with limited spread confined to the chest (stage III). PD-1 inhibition has been proven to be superior to standard

chemotherapy, both as a single treatment as well as when combined with either chemotherapy or CTLA-4 inhibition. Despite the success of immunotherapy, the majority of patients do not respond or relapse within a short time-frame. Biomarkers that would help to properly select patients with a high likelihood of clinical response to PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors are scarce and far from optimal, and only one (PD-L1 expression) has reached clinical practice. Thus for immunotherapy to be effective, the discovery and validation of additional biomarkers is critical for patient selection and prediction of clinical response. In this mini-review, we give an overview of current clinical management of NSCLC including treatment landscape with regard to immunotherapy, as well as discuss the current genetic and immune cell biomarker studies and their potential for introduction into clinical practice.