Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has rapidly and drastically changed the treatment landscape in oncology. For many malignancies, it has led to unprecedented responses in cancers with historically poor prognoses. However, only a subset of patients respond to treatment with ICIs, underscoring the need for more reliable predictive biomarkers to guide patient selection for this therapy. At the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference, Jarushka Naidoo, MBBCh, Assistant Professor of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, discussed the busy and growing area of biomarker testing for immunotherapy.
Biomarkers are defined as “cellular, biochemical or molecular alterations that are measurable in biological media, such as human tissues, cells, or fluids.”1 In oncology, biomarkers are used to identify potential therapeutic targets, provide insight into why a cancer occurred, guide treatment decisions, predict who will respond to treatment, and monitor treatment responses through therapy.2
ICIs are still a relatively new treatment option for patients with a variety of solid tumors, and biomarker testing varies depending on cancer type and stage; the NCCN Guidelines provide recommendations for biomarker testing across certain solid tumors. However, in this evolving field, PD-L1 testing via immunohistochemistry (IHC) is generally considered one of the most extensive biomarker tests available, according to Dr. Naidoo.
Disclosures: Dr. Naidoo has disclosed that she has no interests, arrangements, affiliations, or commercial interests with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.
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