Immune checkpoint blockade produces clinical benefit in many patients. However, better biomarkers of response are still needed, and mechanisms of resistance remain incompletely understood. To address this, we recently studied a cohort of melanoma patients treated with sequential checkpoint blockade against cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) followed by programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) and identified immune markers of response and resistance. Building on these studies, we performed deep molecular profiling including T cell receptor sequencing and whole-exome sequencing within the same cohort and demonstrated that a more clonal T cell repertoire was predictive of response to PD-1 but not CTLA-4 blockade. Analysis of CNAs identified a higher burden of copy number loss in nonresponders to CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade and found that it was associated with decreased expression of genes in immune-related pathways. The effect of mutational load and burden of copy number loss on response was nonredundant, suggesting the potential utility of a combinatorial biomarker to optimize patient care with checkpoint blockade therapy.
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