DNA Checkpoint Gene Mutation as a Biomarker for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy in Advanced Biliary Tract Cancer

Anticancer Res. 2024 May;44(5):2103-2108. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.17015.


Background/aim: The DNA checkpoint (DNACHK) pathway is engaged in signaling the need for cell cycle arrest. This pathway is being actively researched to assess its role in cancer immunotherapy.

Patients and methods: A total of 62 patients participated in this study. These patients were treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for advanced biliary tract cancers (BTCs) from March 2020 to August 2022 at Samsung Medical Center. DNACHK mutated were defined as genomic alterations, such as single nucleotide variants, multi-nucleotide variants, and short insertion and deletions in seven genes; checkpoint kinase 1 (CHEK1), checkpoint kinase 2 (CHEK2), BRCA1, DNA repair-associated (BRCA1), the serine/threonine kinase ATM, the serine/threonine kinase ATR, mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1) and tumor protein p53 binding protein 1 (TP53BP1). We analyzed the effect of DNACHK mutations on the efficacy of ICIs in advanced BTCs.

Results: Patient median age at diagnosis was 68.0 years. 10 patients (16.1%) had GB cancer; the remaining patients (n=52, 83.9%) were diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. Thirty-seven (59.7%) patients were categorized into the DNACHK wild-type (WT) group and 25 (40.3%) into the DNACHK mutated (MT) group. The most observed DNA checkpoint mutations were ATM mutations (n=14). Patients in the DNACHK MT group had better disease control rate (DCR) than patients in the DNACHK WT (60.0% vs. 48.6%, p=0.53). Median overall survival (OS) was 8.1 months (95% CI 5.1-22.8) in the MT group and 5.6 months (95%CI 3.1-11.0) in the WT group (p=0.33).

Conclusion: The DNACHK pathway is expected to serve as a potential biomarker for ICI treatment.

Keywords: DNA checkpoint gene mutation; advanced biliary tract cancer; biomarker; immune checkpoint inhibitor; next-generation genome sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor