Alterations in DNA damage response and repair genes as potential marker of clinical benefit from PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in advanced urothelial cancers Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell
  • Serum Albumin
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms


  • Purpose Alterations in DNA damage response and repair (DDR) genes are associated with increased mutation load and improved clinical outcomes in platinum-treated metastatic urothelial carcinoma. We examined the relationship between DDR alterations and response to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade. Methods Detailed demographic, treatment response, and long-term outcome data were collected on patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma treated with atezolizumab or nivolumab who had targeted exon sequencing performed on pre-immunotherapy tumor specimens. Presence of DDR alterations was correlated with best objective response per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) and progression-free and overall survival. Results Sixty patients with urothelial cancer enrolled in prospective trials of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies met inclusion criteria. Any DDR and known or likely deleterious DDR mutations were identified in 28 (47%) and 15 (25%) patients, respectively. The presence of any DDR alteration was associated with a higher response rate (67.9% v 18.8%; P < .001). A higher response rate was observed in patients whose tumors harbored known or likely deleterious DDR alterations (80%) compared with DDR alterations of unknown significance (54%) and in those whose tumors were wild-type for DDR genes (19%; P < .001). The correlation remained significant in multivariable analysis that included presence of visceral metastases. DDR alterations also were associated with longer progression-free and overall survival. Conclusion DDR alterations are independently associated with response to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma. These observations warrant additional study, including prospective validation and exploration of the interaction between tumor DDR alteration and other tumor/host biomarkers of immunotherapy response.

publication date

  • June 10, 2018



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/JCO.2017.75.7740

PubMed ID

  • 29489427

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1685

end page

  • 1694


  • 36


  • 17