Preclinical mouse models suggest that the gut microbiome modulates tumor response to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy; however, this has not been well-characterized in human cancer patients. Here we examined the oral and gut microbiome of melanoma patients undergoing anti-programmed cell death 1 protein (PD-1) immunotherapy (n = 112). Significant differences were observed in the diversity and composition of the patient gut microbiome of responders versus nonresponders. Analysis of patient fecal microbiome samples (n = 43, 30 responders, 13 nonresponders) showed significantly higher alpha diversity (P < 0.01) and relative abundance of bacteria of the Ruminococcaceae family (P < 0.01) in responding patients. Metagenomic studies revealed functional differences in gut bacteria in responders, including enrichment of anabolic pathways. Immune profiling suggested enhanced systemic and antitumor immunity in responding patients with a favorable gut microbiome as well as in germ-free mice receiving fecal transplants from responding patients. Together, these data have important implications for the treatment of melanoma patients with immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Copyright © 2018, American Association for the Advancement of Science.