Dr. Brahmer on Biomarkers for Immune Response in NSCLC

Julie R. Brahmer, MD
Published: Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018



Julie R. Brahmer, MD, associate professor of oncology, co-director of the Upper Aerodigestive Department, Bloomberg Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses biomarkers for immune response in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Data from the KEYNOTE-024 study demonstrated that patients with high tumor proportion score and a PD-L1 status of >50% seemed more likely to derive clinical benefit from single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Brahmer says although PD-L1 expression is an effective biomarker with immunotherapy alone, it becomes more inconsistent when checkpoint inhibitors are combined with chemotherapy. Another challenge with detecting PD-L1 expression is having enough tissue available to test for it, she adds.

In that regard, tumor mutational burden (TMB) may be a little more advantageous as a biomarker in the space. If TMB can easily be detected with a liquid biopsy, that can lead to advances in turnaround time and allow for a more personalized treatment approach for patients.
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Julie R. Brahmer, MD, associate professor of oncology, co-director of the Upper Aerodigestive Department, Bloomberg Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses biomarkers for immune response in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Data from the KEYNOTE-024 study demonstrated that patients with high tumor proportion score and a PD-L1 status of >50% seemed more likely to derive clinical benefit from single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Brahmer says although PD-L1 expression is an effective biomarker with immunotherapy alone, it becomes more inconsistent when checkpoint inhibitors are combined with chemotherapy. Another challenge with detecting PD-L1 expression is having enough tissue available to test for it, she adds.

In that regard, tumor mutational burden (TMB) may be a little more advantageous as a biomarker in the space. If TMB can easily be detected with a liquid biopsy, that can lead to advances in turnaround time and allow for a more personalized treatment approach for patients.

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Community Practice Connections™: New Directions in Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Emerging Evidence of ImmunotherapyAug 13, 20191.5
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