Monday, February 26, 2018

Simple blood tests that tell us how melanoma patients are responding to therapy and identify their disease in the first place....AGAIN!!!!

Yep.  It's me again, Margaret.  I'm still yelling about simple blood draws that can provide critical information related to the diagnosis of, feasibility of treatment for, response to treatment, and prognosis generally in melanoma patients!  Just last week I posted this:  More blood tests to determine prognosis as well as response to therapy in melanoma patients!!!

Now, there's this....

Clinical response to PD-1 blockade correlates with a sub-fraction of peripheral central memory CD4+ T cells in patients with malignant melanoma. Takeuchi, Tanemura, Tada, et al.  Int Immunol. 2017 Dec 23.

Cancer immunotherapy that blocks immune checkpoint molecules, such as PD-1/PD-L1, unleashes dysfunctional antitumor T-cell responses and has durable clinical benefits in various types of cancers. Yet its clinical efficacy is limited to a small proportion of patients, highlighting the need for identifying biomarkers that can predict the clinical response by exploring antitumor responses crucial for tumor regression. Here we explored T-cell responses associated with clinical benefits using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with malignant melanoma treated with anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb). Pre- and post-treatment samples were collected from two different cohorts (discovery set and validation set) and subjected to mass cytometry assays that measured the expression levels of 35 proteins. Screening by high dimensional clustering in the discovery set identified increases in three micro-clusters of CD4+ T cells, a subset of central memory CD4+ T cells harboring CD27+FAS-CD45RA-CCR7+ phenotype, after treatment in long-term survivors, but not in non-responders. The same increase was also observed in clinical responders in the validation set. We propose that increases in this subset of central memory CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood can be potentially used as a predictor of clinical response to PD-1 blockade therapy in patients with malignant melanoma.
Here researchers looked at the blood of folks before and after patients with melanoma were treated with anti-PD-1.  They found that a particular type of CD4+ T cell increased in long term survivors and clinical responders...but NOT in non-responders.

That seems pretty straight forward to me!  But, there's more....

A high neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio prior to BRAF inhibitor treatment is a predictor of poor progression-free survival in patients with metastatic melanoma. Finon, Zaragoza, Maillard, et al. Eur J Dermatol. 2018 Jan 16.

Some studies have shown that a high neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) greater than or = to 4 before initiating ipilimumab treatment is an independent prognostic indicator of poor survival in patients with metastatic melanoma (MM). To determine whether the NLR before starting BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) treatment in patients with (MM) is associated with progression-free survival (PFS). This retrospective study included 49 patients consecutively receiving BRAFi for MM between July 2012 and December 2014. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to analyse the relationship between NLR and other factors, such as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), performance status, BRAFi as first- or second-line therapy, and corticosteroid intake with PFS. The NLR before starting BRAFi was significantly associated with PFS based on univariate analysis and multivariate analysis adjusted for potential confounding factors, such as LDH activity, ulceration, performance status, first-line therapy, and corticosteroid intake. A high NLR (continuous variable) was associated with short PFS, and NLR greater than or = to 4 was associated with shorter PFS . Corticosteroid intake was not associated with short PFS based on multivariate analysis. An NLR greater than 4, before starting BRAFi treatment, is an independent prognostic indicator of poor progression-free survival.

SO.....again ~ folks with a high NLR (greater than or = to 4) did worse!!!  This is NOT news people.  I've been yelling about this since 2015!!!

That fact was valid when the NLR was tested in folks without metastatic disease ~  Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios as a predictor of death from melanoma in patients with NONmetastatic disease
That fact was valid when the NLR was examined in regard to ipi (as noted in the above article) ~  Neutrophils as a prognostic predictor in patients trated with ipi/Yervoy
That fact was valid when first postulated in 2015 ~  Lab values that may predict response to Ipi/Yervoy????

Do we really need to examine that any further???  There is also this...

Development and validation of a plasma-based melanoma biomarker suitable for clinical use.  Van, Lincoln, Van Laar.  Br J Cancer. 2018 Jan 23.

In Australia, more money is spent on skin cancer than any other malignancy. Despite this, the mortality rate of melanoma, the deadliest form, has steadily increased over the past 50 years. Diagnostic imprecision and a lack of complimentary molecular biomarkers are partially responsible for this lack of progress.

Whole-microRNAome profiling was performed on plasma samples from 32 patients with histologically confirmed melanoma and 16 normal controls. A classification algorithm was trained on these data and independently validated on multiple previously published microRNA data sets, representing (i) melanoma patient- and normal-blood, (ii) melanoma and nevi biopsy tissue, and (iii) cell lines and purified exosomes.

38 circulating microRNAs had biologically and statistically significant differences between melanoma and normal plasma samples (MEL38). A support vector machine algorithm, trained on these markers, showed strong independent classification accuracy (AUC 0.79-0.94). A majority of MEL38 genes have been previously associated with melanoma and are known regulators of angiogenesis, metastasis, tumour suppression, and treatment resistance.

MEL38 exhibits disease state specificity and robustness to platform and specimen-type variation. It has potential to become an objective diagnostic biomarker and improve the precision and accuracy of melanoma detection and monitoring.

Here folks looked at blood samples for microRNA whose presence helped define the difference between melanoma and normal plasma.  

I have endless posts regarding the examination of tumor DNA in the blood of melanoma patients, allowing for the identification of disease, BRAF status, progression, response, etc.  Earlier this month, I posted this:  Circulating tumor DNA to help differentiate true progression of melanoma vs pseudoprogression in patients treated with anti-PD-1  Here are about a zillion additional posts:  Circulating melanoma DNA

Really people!  Can someone not do a definitive study on a larger scale...rather than piecemeal this and that....without sharing come up with a valid and specific melanoma panel???  We have simple lipid panels that help guide heart health.  We have lab draws and tests that help diagnosis and monitor diabetes.  No set of labs is an absolute for ANYTHING.  BUT!!!!  They are incredibly important tools in diagnosing, treating and managing a wide variety of disease processes.  They can do that for melanoma, too!!!   We have learned that we can look at T cells, other basic blood cells, tumor DNA, RNA, all sorts of bits and bobs....floating in the blood of patients with melanoma, to provide meaningful information that could allow melanoma patients and their doctors a mechanism for making better choices in their treatment and care.

Radiologic scans expose us to radiation, "find" lots of red herrings, and are a huge financial burden.  They also have limits regarding what they can see.  Sub-centimeter tumors, not to mention little demon melanoma cells floating about, are not visualized.  Additionally, imaging studies are cumbersome and have a built in time lag that can delay needed therapy or a change in current therapy as patients wait for "their next scan" to be compared to a prior one in order to define disease status.  Determining pathology from tumor samples is often confusing.  I had to have my initial slides examined by 3 pathologists to gain consensus that I was in fact dealing with melanoma.  Folks need and deserve answers. A basic algorithim that incorporates all forms of investigation including blood markers, nuclear, radiographic, and tissue examination needs to be established for melanoma. NOW!!!

Seriously..NOW!!! - c

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