Tumor mutational burden (TMB) in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has shown promise in predicting benefit from PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors in retrospective studies. Aiming to assess blood TMB (bTMB) prospectively, we conducted B-F1RST (NCT02848651), an open-label, phase 2 trial that evaluated bTMB as a predictive biomarker for first-line atezolizumab monotherapy in locally advanced or metastatic stage IIIB–IVB non-small cell lung cancer (n = 152). The co-primary endpoints were investigator-assessed objective response rate (ORR) per RECIST version 1.1 and investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS) between high and low bTMB subgroups at the pre-defined bTMB ≥ 16 (14.5 mutations per megabase) cutoff. Secondary endpoints included investigator-assessed PFS, overall survival (OS) and duration of response at various bTMB cutoffs, as well as safety. Investigator-assessed PFS in the bTMB ≥ 16 versus bTMB < 16 groups was not statistically significant. However, bTMB ≥ 16 was associated with higher ORR, and ORR improved as bTMB cutoffs increased. No new safety signals were seen. In exploratory analyses, patients with maximum somatic allele frequency (MSAF) < 1% had higher ORR than patients with MSAF ≥ 1%. However, further analysis showed that this effect was driven by better baseline prognostics rather than by MSAF itself. At 36.5-month follow-up, an exploratory analysis of OS found that bTMB ≥ 16 was associated with longer OS than bTMB < 16. Further study and assay optimization will be required to develop bTMB as a predictive, standalone biomarker of immunotherapy or for use in conjunction with other biomarkers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)