On-treatment immune prognostic score for patients with relapsed and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma treated with immunotherapy.
Ap Dafydd, D
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Background Previous studies have suggested that inflammatory markers (neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and fibrinogen) are prognostic biomarkers in patients with a variety of solid cancers, including those treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). We aimed to develop a model that predicts response and survival in patients with relapsed and/or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treated with immunotherapy.Methods Analysis of 100 consecutive patients with unresectable R/M HNSCC who were treated with ICI. Baseline and on-treatment (day 28) NLR, fibrinogen and LDH were calculated and correlated with response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) using univariate and multivariate analyses. The optimal cut-off values were derived using maximally selected log-rank statistics.Results Low baseline NLR and fibrinogen levels were associated with response. There was a statistically significant correlation between on-treatment NLR and fibrinogen and best overall response. On-treatment high NLR and raised fibrinogen were significantly associated with poorer outcome. In multivariate analysis, on-treatment NLR (≥4) and on-treatment fibrinogen (≥4 ng/mL) showed a significant negative correlation with OS and PFS. Using these cut-off points, we generated an on-treatment score for OS and PFS (0-2 points). The derived scoring system shows appropriate discrimination and suitability for OS (HR 2.4, 95% CI 1.7 to 3.4, p<0.0001, Harrell's C 0.67) and PFS (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4 to 2.3, p<0.0001, Harrell's C 0.68). In the absence of an external validation cohort, results of fivefold cross-validation of the score and evaluation of median OS and PFS on the Kaplan-Meier survival distribution between trained and test data exhibited appropriate accuracy and concordance of the model.Conclusions NLR and fibrinogen levels are simple, inexpensive and readily available biomarkers that could be incorporated into an on-treatment scoring system and used to help predict survival and response to ICI in patients with R/M HNSCC.
Journal for immunotherapy of cancer, 2021, 9 (6)