Specific TP53 subtype as biomarker for immune checkpoint inhibitors in lung adenocarcinoma

EBioMedicine. 2020 Oct:60:102990. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102990. Epub 2020 Sep 11.


Background: Although TP53 co-mutation with KRAS/ATM/EGFR/STK11 have been proved to have predictive value for response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), not all TP53 mutations are equal in this context. As the main part of TP53 mutant types, Missense and Nonsense alternations in TP53 as independent factors to predict the response to ICIs within Lung Adenocarcinoma (LUAD) patients have not yet been reported.

Methods: An integrated analysis based on multiple-dimensional data types including genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and clinical data from published lung adenocarcinoma data and local database of LUAD taking immune checkpoint inhibitors. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was used to determine potentially relevant gene expression signatures between specific subgroups. Single-sample GSEA (GSVA) is conducted to calculate the score for enrichment of a set of genes regulating DNA damage repair (DDR) pathway.

Findings: The TP53-missense-mutation group showed increased PD-L1 (CD274) level and enriched IFN-γ signatures compared with the TP53-wild-type subgroup, but no differences were noted in patients with nonsense-mutant vs wild-type p53. Furthermore, a group of suppressor Immune cells like M2 Macrophage and Neutrophils are found enriched in nonsense group. On the other-side, both TP53 missense and nonsense mutations are associated with elevated TMB and neoantigen levels and contribute equally to DNA damage repair deficiency. The distribution regarding to multi-dimensional factors determining the efficacy of ICIs finally transformed into diverse clinical benefits for LUAD. TP53 missense but not -nonsense Mutants are associated with better clinical benefits taking antiPD-1/1L. However, all such TP53 subgroups responds well to nivolumab (antiPD-L1) plus ipilimumab (antiCTLA-4) therapy.

Interpretation: Our study demonstrated that not all TP53 mutations are equal in predicting efficacy in patients with LUAD treated with ICIs. Multi-center data showed that TP53 missense and nonsense mutations were significantly different in terms of associations with PD-L1 expression, IFN-γ signatures and TME composition. Special attention should be paid to potential TP53 mutation heterogeneity when evaluating TP53 status as biomarker for ICIs.

Funding: The study was supported by Key Lab System Project of Guangdong Science and Technology Department - Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Translational Medicine in Lung Cancer (Grant No. 2017B030314120, to Yi-Long WU).

Keywords: Immunotherapy; Lung adenocarcinoma; Subtypes; TP53.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / mortality*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Janus Kinases
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Mutation*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Prognosis
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CD274 protein, human
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Janus Kinases