Analysis of the Prevalence of Microsatellite Instability in Prostate Cancer and Response to Immune Checkpoint Blockade

IMPORTANCE: The anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR) solid tumors, but the prevalence of MSI-H/dMMR prostate cancer and the clinical utility of immune checkpoint blockade in this disease subset are unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To define the prevalence of MSI-H/dMMR prostate cancer and the clinical benefit of anti–PD-1/programmed cell death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) therapy in this molecularly defined population.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In this case, series, 1551 tumors from 1346 patients with prostate cancer undergoing treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center were prospectively analyzed using a targeted sequencing assay from January 1, 2015, through January 31, 2018. Patients had a diagnosis of prostate cancer and consented to tumor molecular profiling when a tumor biopsy was planned or archival tissue was available. For each patient, clinical outcomes were reported, with follow-up until May 31, 2018.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Tumor mutation burden and MSIsensor score, a quantitative measure of MSI, were calculated. Mutational signature analysis and immunohistochemistry for MMR protein expression were performed in select cases.

RESULTS: Among the 1033 patients who had adequate tumor quality for MSIsensor analysis (mean [SD] age, 65.6 [9.3] years), 32 (3.1%) had MSI-H/dMMR prostate cancer. Twenty-three of 1033 patients (2.2%) had tumors with high MSIsensor scores, and an additional 9 had indeterminate scores with evidence of dMMR. Seven of the 32 MSI-H/dMMR patients (21.9%) had a pathogenic germline mutation in a Lynch syndrome-associated gene. Six patients had more than 1 tumor analyzed, 2 of whom displayed an acquired MSI-H phenotype later in their disease course. Eleven patients with MSI-H/dMMR castration-resistant prostate cancer received anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. Six of these (54.5%) had a greater than 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen levels, 4 of whom had radiographic responses. As of May 2018, 5 of the 6 responders (5 of 11 total [45.5%]) were still on therapy for as long as 89 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The MSI-H/dMMR molecular phenotype is uncommon yet therapeutically meaningful in prostate cancer and can be somatically acquired during disease evolution. Given the potential for durable responses to anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy, these findings support the use of prospective tumor sequencing to screen all patients with advanced prostate cancer for MSI-H/dMMR. Because not all patients with the MSI-H/dMMR phenotype respond, further studies should explore mechanisms of resistance.

Authors: Wassim Abida, MD, PhD1; Michael L. Cheng, MD1; Joshua Armenia, PhD2; Sumit Middha, PhD3; Karen A. Autio, MD1; Hebert Alberto Vargas, MD4; Dana Rathkopf, MD1; Michael J. Morris, MD1; Daniel C. Danila, MD1; Susan F. Slovin, MD, PhD1; Emily Carbone, BA1; Ethan S. Barnett, MS1; Melanie Hullings, BA1; Jaclyn F. Hechtman, MD5; Ahmet Zehir, PhD3; Jinru Shia, MD5; Philip Jonsson, PhD2,3; Zsofia K. Stadler, MD1; Preethi Srinivasan, BA3; Vincent P. Laudone, MD6; Victor Reuter, MD5; Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD1;Nicholas D. Socci, PhD3,7; Barry S. Taylor, PhD2,3; Michael F. Berger, PhD3,5; Philip W. Kantoff, MD1; Charles L. Sawyers, MD2;Nikolaus Schultz, PhD2,3; David B. Solit, MD1,2,3; Anuradha Gopalan, MD5; Howard I. Scher, MD1

Author Affiliation: 
1. Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
2. Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
3. Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
4. Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
5. Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
6. Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
7. Bioinformatics Core, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York

JAMA Oncol. Published online December 27, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.5801

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