A recently published biomarker analysis of PURE-01 by Bandini et al. in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute investigated the utility of clinical and tumor biomarkers to predict pCR after pembrolizumab. PURE-01 was an open-label, single-arm, phase 2 study that enrolled patients scheduled for radical cystectomy (RC) and had a clinical T2-4aN0M0 stage. The pCR (pT0N0) was defined as the absence of viable tumor in examined tissue from RC and pelvic lymph node dissection. The study included 112 patients who underwent comprehensive genomic profiling and PD-L1 combined positive score (CPS) assessment. The cohort included 19 (17%) patients with predominant variant histology.
The authors conducted multivariable logistic regression analyses (MVA) to evaluate baseline clinical T-stage and tumor biomarkers associated with pCR. Only CPS was a statistically significant predictor of pCR (odds ratio [OR]: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.04, p=0.005). A calculator for pCR probability was developed using the coefficients of the multivariable model, including TMB, CPS, and cT-stage. The c-index of the pCR probability calculator was 0.77. The authors published this calculator as an online resource (The PURE-01 risk calculator).
The study evaluated the contribution of TMB and CPS in determining the probability of pCR. Interestingly, very high TMB levels were found to be a statistically significant predictor for pCR regardless of the PD-L1 expression. Only in tumors with high TMB (>11 Mut/Mb), the CPS values had a linear impact on pCR probability. This impact was not observed in low-TMB tumors.
The calculator has to be interpreted cautiously as it did not account for the impact of transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) apart from using the clinical tumor stage. It is also important to note that the study used multiparametric MRI to assess the clinical stage. The definition of pCR and whether it predicts overall survival in a prospective manner need to be considered.
Written by: Bishoy M. Faltas, MD, Director of Bladder Cancer Research, Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City, New York
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