Age correlates with response to anti-PD1, reflecting age-related differences in intratumoral effector and regulatory T-cell populations

Curtis H. Kugel, Stephen M. Douglass, Marie R. Webster, Amanpreet Kaur, Qin Liu, Xiangfan Yin, Sarah A. Weiss, Farbod Darvishian, Rami N. Al-Rohil, Abibatou Ndoye, Reeti Behera, Gretchen M. Alicea, Brett L. Ecker, Mitchell Fane, Michael J. Allegrezza, Nikolaos Svoronos, Vinit Kumar, Daniel Y. Wang, Rajasekharan Somasundaram, Siwen Hu-LieskovanAlpaslan Ozgun, Meenhard Herlyn, Jose R. Conejo-Garcia, Dmitry Gabrilovich, Erica L. Stone, Theodore S. Nowicki, Jeffrey Sosman, Rajat Rai, Matteo S. Carlino, Georgina V. Long, Richard Marais, Antoni Ribas, Zeynep Eroglu, Michael A. Davies, Bastian Schilling, Dirk Schadendorf, Wei Xu, Ravi K. Amaravadi, Alexander M. Menzies, Jennifer L. McQuade, Douglas B. Johnson, Iman Osman, Ashani T. Weeraratna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Purpose: We have shown that the aged microenvironment increases melanoma metastasis, and decreases response to targeted therapy, and here we queried response to anti-PD1. Experimental Design: We analyzed the relationship between age, response to anti-PD1, and prior therapy in 538 patients. We used mouse models of melanoma, to analyze the intratumoral immune microenvironment in young versus aged mice and confirmed our findings in human melanoma biopsies. Results: Patients over the age of 60 respondedmore efficiently to anti-PD-1, and likelihood of response to anti-PD-1 increased with age, even when we controlled for prior MAPKi therapy. Placing genetically identical tumors in aged mice (52 weeks) significantly increased their response to anti-PD1 as compared with the same tumors in young mice (8 weeks). These data suggest that this increased response in aged patients occurs even in the absence of a more complex mutational landscape. Next, we found that young mice had a significantly higher population of regulatory T cells (Tregs), skewing the CD8+:Treg ratio. FOXP3 staining of human melanoma biopsies revealed similar increases in Tregs in young patients. Depletion of Tregs using anti-CD25 increased the response to anti-PD1 in young mice. Conclusions: While there are obvious limitations to our study, including our inability to conduct a meta-analysis due to a lack of available data, and our inability to control for mutational burden, there is a remarkable consistency in these data from over 500 patients across 8 different institutes worldwide. These results stress the importance of considering age as a factor for immunotherapy response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5347-5356
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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