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Farmacia Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 2171-8695Print version ISSN 1130-6343


DIAZ-CARRASCO, María Sacramento; GONZALEZ-HABA, Eva; GARCIA-SOLER, Juana Inés  and  ESPUNY-MIRO, Alberto. Predictive biomarkers of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Farm Hosp. [online]. 2020, vol.44, n.4, pp.141-148.  Epub June 28, 2021. ISSN 2171-8695.


The present paper provides a literature review aimed at identifying the tumor-dependent factors capable of influencing a subject's response to immune checkpoint inhibitors, with a special emphasis on those that may act as predictive biomarkers.


A search was performed of the terms biomarkers, PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4, and checkpoint inhibitors in the title and the abstract of the records in the PubMed database. Articles including relevant information on the tumor-dependent factors capable of influencing a subject's response of immune checkpoint inhibitors were selected. Priority was given to studies in humans (clinical trials and reviews) published between January 2015 and June 2019, in English and Spanish.


The literature review exposed the complex relationship that exists between the immune system and tumors. It also revealed that the factors capable of influencing a subject's response to immune checkpoint inhibitors are multiple, heterogeneous and ill understood, which makes it difficult to obtain simple and/or universal predictive biomarkers.


The only biomarkers currently used in clinical practice include the expression of the programmed cell death ligand-1 and microsatellite instability/ deficient DNA mismatch repair, but their usefulness is limited. Tumor mutational burden and gene signatures associated to IFN-γ could become useful biomarkers once determination techniques and cutoff points are systematized.

Keywords : Biomarkers; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Immunotherapy; Programmed cell death-1 receptor.

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