Tissue-specific thresholds of mutation burden associated with anti-PD-1/L1 therapy benefit and prognosis in microsatellite-stable cancers.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nat Cancer


california; sjci


Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting programmed cell death protein 1 or its ligand (PD-1/L1) have expanded the treatment landscape against cancers but are effective in only a subset of patients. Tumor mutation burden (TMB) is postulated to be a generic determinant of ICI-dependent tumor rejection. Here we describe the association between TMB and survival outcomes among microsatellite-stable cancers in a real-world clinicogenomic cohort consisting of 70,698 patients distributed across 27 histologies. TMB was associated with survival benefit or detriment depending on tissue and treatment context, with eight cancer types demonstrating a specific association between TMB and improved outcomes upon treatment with anti-PD-1/L1 therapies. Survival benefits were noted over a broad range of TMB cutoffs across cancer types, and a dose-dependent relationship between TMB and outcomes was observed in a subset of cancers. These results have implications for the use of cancer-agnostic and universal TMB cutoffs to guide the use of anti-PD-1/L1 therapies, and they underline the importance of tissue context in the development of ICI biomarkers.

Clinical Institute