How to Best Exploit Immunotherapeutics in Advanced Gastric Cancer: Between Biomarkers and Novel Cell-Based Approaches
Journal of Clinical Medicine
Despite extensive research efforts, advanced gastric cancer still has a dismal prognosis with conventional treatment options. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment landscape for many solid tumors. Amongst gastric cancer subtypes, tumors with microsatellite instability and Epstein Barr Virus positive tumors provide the strongest rationale for responding to immunotherapy. Various predictive biomarkers such as mismatch repair status, programmed death ligand 1 expression,
... and 1 expression, tumor mutational burden, assessment of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and circulating biomarkers have been evaluated. However, results have been inconsistent due to different methodologies and thresholds used. Clinical implementation therefore remains a challenge. The role of immune checkpoint inhibitors in gastric cancer is emerging with data from monotherapy in the heavily pre-treated population already available and studies in earlier disease settings with different combinatorial approaches in progress. Immune checkpoint inhibitor combinations with chemotherapy (CT), anti-angiogenics, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, anti-Her2 directed therapy, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors or dual checkpoint inhibitor strategies are being explored. Moreover, novel strategies including vaccines and CAR T cell therapy are also being trialed. Here we provide an update on predictive biomarkers for response to immunotherapy with an overview of their strengths and limitations. We discuss clinical trials that have been reported and trials in progress whilst providing an account of future steps needed to improve outcome in this lethal disease.