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Kauffmann-Guerrero, Diego; Kahnert, Kathrin; Kiefl, Rosemarie; Sellmer, Laura; Walter, Julia; Behr, Jürgen and Tufman, Amanda (2021): Systemic inflammation and pro-inflammatory cytokine profile predict response to checkpoint inhibitor treatment in NSCLC: a prospective study. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 11, No. 1, 10919

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Treatment with single agent immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has tremendously changed second line therapy in NSCLC. However, there are still no reliable biomarkers predicting response and survival in this group of patients. PD-L1 revealed to be a correlating, but no perfect marker. Therefore, we sought to investigate in this prospective study, whether inflammation status and cytokine profile could serve as additional biomarkers guiding treatment decision for single agent ICIs in NSCLC. 29 stage IV NSCLC patients receiving single agent PD-1 checkpoint-inhibitor in second line were prospectively enrolled. Inflammatory scores and cytokine profiles (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IFN-gamma and TNF alpha) have been obtained before treatment and at the time of the first staging. Cytokine profiles were correlated with response and survival. Patients with signs of pre-therapeutic inflammation (elevated, NLR, SII, IL-6, IL-8) showed significantly lower response to ICI treatment and reduced PFS. Contrary, elevated levels of IFN-gamma revealed to characterize a subgroup of patients, who significantly benefits from ICI treatment. Furthermore, low systemic inflammation and high levels of IFN-gamma characterized patients with long term-response to ICI treatment. Pre-therapeutic assessment of inflammation and cytokine profiles has the ability to predict response and survival in NSCLC patients treated with single agent ICIs.

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