Validation of biomarkers that can improve prediction of the outcome of immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Immune checkpoint immunotherapy (ICI) is a promising treatment for cancer patients suffering from e.g. non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, this therapy is only successful in 25-30% of treated patients and is associated with severe immune-related events. Therefore, biomarkers predicting ICI success are needed. The host laboratory discovered three protein markers as potential prospective biomarkers for anti-PD-(L)1 ICI response in NSCLC patients by innovative mass spectrometry imaging (MSI). MSI was successfully implemented as screening method and NSCLC patient stratification to therapy response improved fourfold compared to the currently used clinical marker. We also have strong indications that the identified protein markers may induce an immune response against NSCLC tumor cells in vitro and decrease tumor cell proliferation. These new and interesting findings will be further explored to understand the action of the protein markers on the tumor cells and leukocyte subtypes to eventually improve their potency in cancer immunology.