DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.targ-23-c017 ISSN: 1538-8514

Abstract C017: Exploiting tumor RNA-sequencing data for prediction of immune checkpoint inhibition response

Pieter Mestdagh
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have become the standard of care as a first- or second-line systemic treatment for patients with various cancer types. Unfortunately, many patients do not respond to this treatment and the occurrence of immune-related adverse events varies widely. There is an urgent need for robust predictive biomarkers for ICI response to select patients with likely clinical benefit from this costly treatment. Several biomarkers, aimed at predicting response to ICI, have been proposed, including PD-L1 expression, tumor mutation burden (TMB), infiltration of cytotoxic T-cells in the tumor, Microsatellite Instability (MSI) and expression of various immune gene signatures. However, these individual biomarkers have suboptimal performance and multiple complementary omics technologies are required to properly quantify them. Integration of these multi-omic biomarkers has proven valuable in increasing the accuracy and robustness of ICI response prediction. We have developed a computational pipeline that determines the expressed mutation burden (eTMB), MSI status, fraction of infiltrating immune cells and various immune gene expression signatures directly from the RNA-sequencing profile of the tumor. Each biomarker is quantified using a dedicated algorithm that applies machine learning (eTMB and MSI) or computational deconvolution (infiltrating immune cells) and integrates external data sources to maximize performance. Algorithm performance has been validated on large cohorts of tumor RNA-sequencing data with matching gold standard quantification of said biomarkers. Moreover, integrating these biomarkers improves prediction of response to checkpoint inhibition therapy. Taken together, our approach enables the quantification of various ICI response biomarkers from a single omics layer (RNA-seq) and can contribute to ICI response prediction.

Citation Format: Pieter Mestdagh. Exploiting tumor RNA-sequencing data for prediction of immune checkpoint inhibition response [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR-NCI-EORTC Virtual International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics; 2023 Oct 11-15; Boston, MA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Mol Cancer Ther 2023;22(12 Suppl):Abstract nr C017.

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