Journal Scan

Review of immune biomarker expression in sarcomas

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Immune heterogeneity across sarcoma subtypes has been confirmed in recent studies, and the first generation of clinical trials of immunotherapy in patients with sarcomas have resulted in some positive responses, leading researchers to believe that stratifying patients may optimize response rates. A recent review, published in Cancer Treatment Reviews, summarizes what is currently know about immune biomarker expression in sarcomas, what technologies may be beneficial in this space, and clinical trial standing of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in sarcomas.

Major findings from the review are below:

– Extensive heterogeneity of immune biomarker occurrence across sarcoma subtypes is noted.

-The impact these biomarkers may have on prognosis is not yet known.

– Multiplex immunohistochemistry and high plex in situ profiling are new technologies that may provide in-depth insights.

-Immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy has not demonstrated convincing clinical benefits in clinical trials.  

-Combination therapy with dual checkpoint inhibitors or in combinations with other agents has shown more potential than monotherapy in several sarcoma subtypes.

The authors concluded that “Better understanding of the sarcoma immune status through biomarkers may help decipher the reasons behind differential responses to immunotherapy.”

Zhu MMT, Shenasa E, Nielsen TO. Sarcomas: Immune biomarker expression and checkpoint inhibitor trials. Cancer Treat Rev. 2020 Oct 20;91:102115. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2020.102115. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33130422.