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Cancers (Basel)


Adjuvant immunotherapy in melanoma patients improves clinical outcomes. However, success is unpredictable due to inherited heterogeneity of immune responses. Inherent immune genes associated with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may influence anti-tumor immune responses. We assessed the predictive ability of 26 immune-gene SNPs genomic panels for a clinical response to adjuvant BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) immunotherapy, using melanoma patient cohorts derived from three phase III multicenter clinical trials: AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) stage IV patients given adjuvant BCG (pilot cohort; n = 92), AJCC stage III patients given adjuvant BCG (verification cohort; n = 269), and AJCC stage III patients that are sentinel lymph node (SLN) positive receiving no immunotherapy (control cohort; n = 80). The SNP panel analysis demonstrated that the responder patient group had an improved disease-free survival (DFS) (hazard ratio [HR] 1.84, 95% CI 1.09-3.13, p = 0.021) in the pilot cohort. In the verification cohort, an improved overall survival (OS) (HR 1.67, 95% CI 1.07-2.67, p = 0.025) was observed. No significant differences of SNPs were observed in DFS or OS in the control patient cohort. This study demonstrates that SNP immune genes can be utilized as a predictive tool for identifying melanoma patients that are inherently responsive to BCG and potentially other immunotherapies in the future.

Clinical Institute