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Prognostic role of soluble PD-1 and BTN2A1 in overweight melanoma patients treated with nivolumab or pembrolizumab: finding the missing links in the symbiotic immune-metabolic interplay

  • Autori: Incorvaia, Lorena; Rinaldi, Gaetana; Badalamenti, Giuseppe; Cucinella, Alessandra; Brando, Chiara; Madonia, Giorgio; Fiorino, Alessia; Pipitone, Angela; Perez, Alessandro; Li Pomi, Federica; Galvano, Antonio; Gristina, Valerio; Barraco, Nadia; Bono, Marco; Bazan Russo, Tancredi Didier; Toia, Francesca; Cordova, Adriana; Fanale, Daniele; Russo, Antonio; Bazan, Viviana
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2023
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


: Individual response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) is currently unpredictable in patients with melanoma. Recent findings highlight a striking improvement in the clinical outcomes of overweight/obese patients treated with ICIs, which seems driven, at least in part, by programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)-mediated T-cell dysfunction. A putative role of butyrophilins (BTNs) is under investigation as a novel mechanism of cancer immune evasion and obesity-associated inflammation. This study investigates the role of baseline plasma levels of soluble PD-1 (sPD-1), soluble programmed cell death ligand 1 (sPD-L1), BTN2A1 (sBTN2A1), BTN3A1 (sBTN3A1), along with body mass index (BMI), as predictive biomarkers of immunotherapy response in metastatic melanoma patients treated with nivolumab or pembrolizumab as first-line treatment. In all, 41 patients were included in the study. The baseline plasma level of sPD-1 was significantly lower, and the sBTN2A1 was significantly higher, in long-responder patients to nivolumab or pembrolizumab (median sPD-1: 10.3 ng/ml versus 16.6 ng/ml, p = 0.001; median sBTN2A1: 4.4 ng/ml versus 3.77 ng/ml, p = 0.004). Lower levels of sPD-1 and higher levels of sBTN2A1 were also significantly associated with better overall response rate. Notably, when we further stratified the study cohort using BMI along with sPD-1, patients with BMI ⩾ 25 and sPD-1 < 11.24 ng/ml had longer time to treatment failure after PD-1 inhibitor than other subgroups of patients (p < 0.001). Circulating sPD-1 and sBTN2A1 detection, along with BMI, could give more insights into the immune-metabolic interactions underlying the benefit observed in overweight/obese patients, improving the use of dynamic, noninvasive, biomarkers for patient selection.