Background: Lung cancer (LC), including both non-small (NSCLC) and small (SCLC) subtypes, is currently treated with a combination of chemo- and immunotherapy. However, predictive biomarkers to identify high-risk patients are needed. Here, we explore the role of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as a tool for novel biomarkers searching. Methods: We analyzed the expression of the cGAS-STING pathway, a key DNA sensor that activates during chemotherapy, in PBMCs from LC patients divided into best responders (BR), responders (R) and non-responders (NR). The PBMCs were whole exome sequenced (WES). Results: PBMCs from BR and R patients of LC cohorts showed the highest levels of STING (p < 0.0001) and CXCL10 (p < 0.0001). From WES, each subject had at least 1 germline/somatic alteration in a DDR gene and the presence of more DDR gene mutations correlated with clinical responses, suggesting novel biomarker implications. Thus, we tested the effect of the pharmacological DDR inhibitor (DDRi) in PBMCs and in three-dimensional spheroid co-culture of PBMCs and LC cell lines; we found that DDRi strongly increased cGAS-STING expression and tumor infiltration ability of immune cells in NR and R patients. Furthermore, we performed FACS analysis of PBMCs derived from LC patients from the BR, R and NR cohorts and we found that cytotoxic T cell subpopulations displayed the highest STING expression. Conclusions: cGAS-STING signaling activation in PBMCs may be a novel potential predictive biomarker for the response to immunotherapy and high levels are correlated with a better response to treatment along with an overall increased antitumor immune injury.

PBMCs as Tool for Identification of Novel Immunotherapy Biomarkers in Lung Cancer

Papaccio F.;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Background: Lung cancer (LC), including both non-small (NSCLC) and small (SCLC) subtypes, is currently treated with a combination of chemo- and immunotherapy. However, predictive biomarkers to identify high-risk patients are needed. Here, we explore the role of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as a tool for novel biomarkers searching. Methods: We analyzed the expression of the cGAS-STING pathway, a key DNA sensor that activates during chemotherapy, in PBMCs from LC patients divided into best responders (BR), responders (R) and non-responders (NR). The PBMCs were whole exome sequenced (WES). Results: PBMCs from BR and R patients of LC cohorts showed the highest levels of STING (p < 0.0001) and CXCL10 (p < 0.0001). From WES, each subject had at least 1 germline/somatic alteration in a DDR gene and the presence of more DDR gene mutations correlated with clinical responses, suggesting novel biomarker implications. Thus, we tested the effect of the pharmacological DDR inhibitor (DDRi) in PBMCs and in three-dimensional spheroid co-culture of PBMCs and LC cell lines; we found that DDRi strongly increased cGAS-STING expression and tumor infiltration ability of immune cells in NR and R patients. Furthermore, we performed FACS analysis of PBMCs derived from LC patients from the BR, R and NR cohorts and we found that cytotoxic T cell subpopulations displayed the highest STING expression. Conclusions: cGAS-STING signaling activation in PBMCs may be a novel potential predictive biomarker for the response to immunotherapy and high levels are correlated with a better response to treatment along with an overall increased antitumor immune injury.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4869017
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