Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Can Inflammation Score Predict Effect of Tislelizumab in Squamous NSCLC?

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Monday, November 8, 2021

A strong association appears to exist between an 18-gene tumor inflammation signature score and the clinical benefit of chemotherapy plus PD-1 blockade with tislelizumab versus chemotherapy alone in treatment-naive squamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a recent biomarker analysis of the phase III RATIONALE-307 trial, conducted by Jie Wang, MD, PhD, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, and colleagues. Dr. Wang presented the results during the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer (Abstract FP04.02).

“High tumor inflammation signature score was associated with significantly longer progression-free survival (P = .001) in the tislelizumab-plus-chemotherapy group, but not in the chemotherapy-alone group,” according to the authors. Because the association of tumor inflammation signature score and progression-free survival seemed to be independent of both PD-L1 and tissue tumor mutational burden status, the data support the score as a potential predictive biomarker for PD-1 inhibitor response, regardless of PD-L1 and tissue tumor mutational burden status. The authors previously published results showing superior clinical efficacy with tislelizumab plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone irrespective of PD-L1 expression and blood tumor mutational burden.

About three-quarters of the 360 patients randomly assigned in the RATIONALE-307 trial had an evaluable tissue tumor mutational burden (n = 263; 73%) and evaluable gene-expression profiling (n = 275; 76%) data on their baseline tumor samples. The investigators found significant treatment-specific differences in progression-free survival in patients with high expression levels of interferon-related genes, including PSMB9, HERC6, and OAS2 (interaction P values of .029, .037, and .025, respectively).

Disclosure: For disclosures for study authors, visit

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