New biomarkers to predict patients’ clinical outcomes to ICI therapy in lung cancer

One of the ways cancer cells survive is by suppressing the body’s immune system. Cancer immunotherapy aims to restore immune function in cancer patients, allowing the body’s immune system to attack the cancer. One type of cancer immunotherapy is called immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. Although it is approved for the treatment of many types of cancer with promising results, ICI therapy is only effective in a subset of patients, and it is believed that this is due to genetic differences among patients. For example, tumor mutation burden (TMB), a measurement of genetic mutations carried by tumor cells, is an emerging genetic biomarker associated with a better response to ICI therapy. But it is not a sufficient predictor on its own, and there is an important need to identify more robust biomarkers to select patients who will respond to ICI therapy. Researchers at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center and Geneseeq Technology Inc. recently discovered three new genetic biomarkers that predict patients’ response and clinical outcomes to ICI therapy in non-small cell lung cancer. These markers are also relevant for several other cancer types. The authors concluded that comprehensive genetic profiling of patients may help medical professionals to better treat certain kinds of cancer and avoid giving ineffective therapies to patients who do not respond. This exciting new research is paving the way toward a future where personalized medicine is the norm.

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By Laura Tennant.