Baseline IFN-γ and IL-10 expression in PBMCs could predict response to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors in advanced melanoma patients

Emilio Francesco Giunta, Giusi Barra, Vincenzo De Falco, Giuseppe Argenziano, Stefania Napolitano, Pasquale Vitale, Nicoletta Zanaletti, Marinella Terminiello, Erika Martinelli, Floriana Morgillo, Davide Ciardiello, Raffaele De Palma, Fortunato Ciardiello, Teresa Troiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anti-PD-1 antibodies revolutionized the treatment of advanced melanoma patients. However, one out of three do not respond to this therapy, with an overall poor prognosis. Identification of predictive biomarkers in patients receiving immune-based therapies is necessary for minimizing risk of toxicity and optimizing patient benefit and is still an important unmet clinical need. Recently, many studies have evaluated peripheral blood markers as potential biomarkers, but none so far have been validated. We collected at baseline peripheral blood samples from 18 consecutive advanced melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 therapy. Main pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were studied in PBMCs from baseline blood samples both evaluating mRNA expression by qRT-PCR and identifying PBMCs subpopulations by FACS analysis. We found that IFN-γ mRNA expression levels were significantly higher in responder patients compared to non-responder ones. Moreover, to better validate its role, we evaluated the IFN-γ/IL-10 ratio. This value was higher in responder patients. FACS analysis confirmed that CD4 + IFN-γ + PBMCs percentage was higher in responders. Our data suggest an interesting correlation between IFN-γ/IL-10 ratio and response to anti-PD-1 therapy in advanced melanoma patients, suggesting a new biomarker that could be easily incorporated in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17626
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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