Background Hyperprogression (HPD) has been described in ≃14–26% of NSCLC patients upon single-agent ICI1 and has not been reported upon ICI and platinum-based chemotherapy (PCT) combinations. Both high circulating neutrophils2 and senescent T-cells3 correlated with HPD, however the exact neutrophils-T-cells interplay and the role of specific neutrophils subsets in driving HPD is unknown.
Methods NSCLC patients treated with 1st line ICI as single-agent or in combination with PCT were assessed for HPD and circulating neutrophils’ phenotype. HPD required 3 assessment (2 before ICI, 1 upon ICI) and was defined as delta tumor growth rate (TGR) (TGR upon ICI – TGR before ICI) >50% and/or TGR ratio (TGR upon ICI/TGR before ICI) ≥2. Circulating low density neutrophils (LDNs) subtypes were assessed by flow cytometry on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs). LDNs were defined as CD66b+CD15+ cells among CD11b+ PBMCs. Immature subtypes were defined as CD10- LDNs. T-cells were isolated from healthy donors and cocultured with patients‘ LDNs to characterize the neutrophils-T-cells interplay. LDNs subtypes were isolated from patients and treated in-vitro with cisplatin to assess cell death.
Results 46 NSCLC patients were treated with single-agent ICI and 17 with PCT+ICI (table 1). In the ICI single-agent cohort, PD and HPD occurred in 21 (41%) and 4 (9%) patients. Before ICI start, HPD patients had significantly higher median% of circulating immature CD10- LDNs neutrophils [43.5 (min 29.5; max 82.6) vs 10.3 (min 0.1; max 79.4), p=0.01] compared to PD patients (figure 1). In the ICI-PCT cohort no HPD was reported. 5 patients had baseline CD10- LDNs ≥ 43.5% (median% of CD10- LDNs in HPD patients upon single-agent ICI), 2 of them had stable disease and 3 PD upon ICI-PCT. In these 5 patients, CD10- LDNs significantly decreased during ICI-PCT compared to what observed in HPD patients upon single-agent ICI [median variation -43.4 (min -67.6, max -31.6) vs +6.9 (min -33, max +44), p= 0.03] (figure 2). After 7 days of coculture with T-cells, immature CD10- LDNs significantly reduced T-cells survival and promoted a T-cell senescent phenotype (CD28 loss, CD57 gain) impairing T-cells proliferation and increasing IFN-gamma production (figure 3). Cisplatin treatment significantly increased necrotic cell death among CD10- LDNs compared to CD10+ LDNs (figure 4).
Conclusions Higher baseline immature CD10- LDNs impair T-cell survival and promote T-cell senescence being a circulating biomarker of HPD upon single-agent ICI. The addition of PCT prevents HPD by inducing immature neutrophils cell death.
Ferrara R, Mezquita L, Texier M, Lahmar J, Audigier-Valette C, Tessonnier L, et al. Hyperprogressive disease in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with pd-1/pd-l1 inhibitors or with single-agent chemotherapy. JAMA Oncol 2018;4:1543–52. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.3676
Kim Y, Kim CH, Lee HY, Lee S-H, Kim HS, Lee S, et al. Comprehensive clinical and genetic characterization of hyperprogression based on volumetry in advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitor. J Thorac Oncol 2019;14:1608–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2019.05.033
Ferrara R, Naigeon M, Auclin E, Duchemann B, Cassard L, Jouniaux JM, et al. Circulating T-cell immunosenescence in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with single agent PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors or platinum-based chemotherapy. Clin Cancer Res 2020. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-1420.
Ethics Approval Patients blood was obtained after signature of informed consent and within an observational prospective study (INT 22_15) approved by local Institutional Ethical Committee.
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