Clinical and kinomic analysis identifies peripheral blood mononuclear cells as a potential pharmacodynamic biomarker in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients treated with sunitinib

Oncotarget. 2016 Oct 11;7(41):67507-67520. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11686.


Background: Sunitinib is a protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) inhibitor that has immune-modulating properties. In this context, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), mainly constituted by lymphocytes, could be a perfect surrogate tissue for identifying and assaying pharmacodynamic biomarkers of sunitinib. In this study, we investigated the changes in lymphocytes count as pharmacodynamic biomarker in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients under sunitinib therapy. Thereafter, we studied the ex vivo effect of sunitinib and SU12262 (active metabolite) on PBMC from naïve mRCC patients using a high throughput kinomic profiling method.

Methods: The prognostic value of total lymphocytes count between Day 0 and Day 21 (expressed as a ratio D21/D0) was retrospectively investigated in 88 mRCC patients under sunitinib therapy. PTK PamChip® microarrays were used to explore prospectivelythe ex vivo effect of sunitinib and SU12662 on PTK activity in PBMC from 21 naïve mRCC patients.

Results: In this retrospective study, D21/D0 lymphocytes ratio (Hazard Ratio, 1.83; CI95%, 1.24-2.71; p=0.0023) was independently associated with PFS. Interestingly, kinomic analysis showed that D21/D0 lymphocytes ratio and Heng prognostic model was statistically associated with the ex vivo sunitinib and SU12662 effect in PBMC.

Conclusion: The present study highlights that D21/D0 total lymphocytes ratio could be a promising pharmacodynamic biomarker in mRCC patients treated with sunitinib. Additionally, it paves the way to investigate the kinomic profile in PBMC as a prognostic factor in a larger cohort of mRCC patients under sunitinib therapy.

Keywords: PBMC; kinome; renal carcinoma; sunitinib.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / blood*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sunitinib


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Indoles
  • Pyrroles
  • Sunitinib