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A gut microbial signature for combination immune checkpoint blockade across cancer types

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posted on 2024-04-11, 08:04 authored by Ashray Gunjur, Yan Shao, Timothy Rozday, Oliver Klein, Andre Mu, Bastiaan W Haak, Ben Markman, Damien Kee, Matteo S Carlino, Craig UnderhillCraig Underhill, Sophia Frentzas, Michael Michael, Bo Gao, Jodie Palmer, Jonathan CebonJonathan Cebon, Andreas BehrenAndreas Behren, David J Adams, Trevor D Lawley
Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte protein 4 (CTLA-4) can induce remarkable, yet unpredictable, responses across a variety of cancers. Studies suggest that there is a relationship between a cancer patient’s gut microbiota composition and clinical response to ICB; however, defining microbiome-based biomarkers that generalize across cohorts has been challenging. This may relate to previous efforts quantifying microbiota to species (or higher taxonomic rank) abundances, whereas microbial functions are often strain specific. Here, we performed deep shotgun metagenomic sequencing of baseline fecal samples from a unique, richly annotated phase 2 trial cohort of patients with diverse rare cancers treated with combination ICB (n = 106 discovery cohort). We demonstrate that strain-resolved microbial abundances improve machine learning predictions of ICB response and 12-month progression-free survival relative to models built using species-rank quantifications or comprehensive pretreatment clinical factors. Through a meta-analysis of gut metagenomes from a further six comparable studies (n = 364 validation cohort), we found cross-cancer (and cross-country) validity of strain–response signatures, but only when the training and test cohorts used concordant ICB regimens (anti-PD-1 monotherapy or combination anti-PD-1 plus anti-CTLA-4). This suggests that future development of gut microbiome diagnostics or therapeutics should be tailored according to ICB treatment regimen rather than according to cancer type.

History

Publication Date

2024-03-01

Journal

Nature Medicine

Volume

30

Issue

3

Pagination

28 (p. 797-809 and Methods and Reporting Summary)

Publisher

Springer Nature

ISSN

1078-8956

Rights Statement

© The Authors 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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