Pathway signatures derived from on-treatment tumor specimens predict response to anti-PD1 blockade in metastatic melanoma

Kuang Du, Shiyou Wei, Zhi Wei, Dennie T. Frederick, Benchun Miao, Tabea Moll, Tian Tian, Eric Sugarman, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Ryan J. Sullivan, Lunxu Liu, Keith T. Flaherty, Genevieve M. Boland, Meenhard Herlyn, Gao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Both genomic and transcriptomic signatures have been developed to predict responses of metastatic melanoma to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies; however, most of these signatures are derived from pre-treatment biopsy samples. Here, we build pathway-based super signatures in pre-treatment (PASS-PRE) and on-treatment (PASS-ON) tumor specimens based on transcriptomic data and clinical information from a large dataset of metastatic melanoma treated with anti-PD1-based therapies as the training set. Both PASS-PRE and PASS-ON signatures are validated in three independent datasets of metastatic melanoma as the validation set, achieving area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.45–0.69 and 0.85–0.89, respectively. We also combine all test samples and obtain AUCs of 0.65 and 0.88 for PASS-PRE and PASS-ON signatures, respectively. When compared with existing signatures, the PASS-ON signature demonstrates more robust and superior predictive performance across all four datasets. Overall, we provide a framework for building pathway-based signatures that is highly and accurately predictive of response to anti-PD1 therapies based on on-treatment tumor specimens. This work would provide a rationale for applying pathway-based signatures derived from on-treatment tumor samples to predict patients’ therapeutic response to ICB therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6023
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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