Purpose: Biomarkers for outcome after immune-checkpoint blockade are strongly needed as these may influence individual treatment selection or sequence. We aimed to identify baseline factors associated with overall survival (OS) after pembrolizumab treatment in melanoma patients.
Experimental Design: Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), routine blood count parameters, and clinical characteristics were investigated in 616 patients. Endpoints were OS and best overall response following pembrolizumab treatment. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox regression were applied for survival analysis.
Results: Relative eosinophil count (REC) >= 1.5%, relative lymphocyte count (RLC) >= 17.5%,
Conclusions: High REC and RLC, low LDH, and absence of metastasis other than soft-tissue/lung are independent baseline characteristics associated with favorable OS of patients with melanoma treated with pembrolizumab. Presence of four favorable factors in combination identifies a subgroup with excellent prognosis. In contrast, patients with no favorable factors present have a poor prognosis, despite pembrolizumab, and additional treatment advances are still needed. A potential predictive impact needs to be further investigated. (C)2016 AACR.