Dr. Johnson on the Limitations of Biomarkers in Melanoma


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Douglas B. Johnson, MD, MSCI, discusses the limitations of biomarkers in melanoma.

Douglas B. Johnson, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, clinical director, Melanoma Research Program, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, discusses the limitations of biomarkers in melanoma.

Identifying novel biomarkers in melanoma has been a challeng​ing area of research, says Johnson.

Initially, PD-L1 expression was evaluated as a way to determine whether patients should receive single-agent PD-1 ​inhibitors or the combination of ​PD-1 plus ​CTLA-4 inhibitors, Johnson explains. However, longer follow-up data have failed to show PD-L1 as a robust biomarker of response.

In addition, since PD-L1 is now used less in melanoma compared with other cancers, ​tumor mutational burden has become a biomarker of interest. Although it appears to correlate with response, the utility of this potential biomarker remains unclear, Johnson concludes.

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