Aim: Investigate the relationship between response to pembrolizumab and expression of the 18-gene T cell-inflamed gene expression profile (TcellinfGEP) or PD-L1 combined positive score (CPS) in esophageal cancer. Materials & methods: This analysis included heavily pretreated patients with advanced/metastatic esophageal/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma who received pembrolizumab in the single-arm, phase II study KEYNOTE-180. PD-L1 CPS was evaluated with PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx. Results: In patients with squamous cell carcinoma, trends toward enrichment for responders were observed for patients with PD-L1 CPS ≥10 tumors. In patients with adenocarcinoma, a trend was observed for TcellinfGEP but not for PD-L1. Conclusion: TcellinfGEP and PD-L1 CPS may enrich for responders to pembrolizumab in patients with esophageal cancer. Clinical trial registration: NCT02559687 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
Keywords: esophageal cancer; gene expression profile; pembrolizumab; programmed death ligand 1; tumor microenvironment.