Publication date: Sep 24, 2018
Personalised medicine targeted to specific biomarkers such as BRAF and c-Kit has radically improved the success of melanoma therapy. More recently, further advances have been made using therapies targeting the immune response. In particular, therapies targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 or CTLA-4 axes alone or in combination have shown more sustained responses in 30-60% of patients. However, these therapies are associated with considerable toxicities and useful biomarkers to predict responders and non-responders are slow to emerge. Here we developed a reliable melanoma circulating tumor cell (CTC) detection method with PD-L1 evaluation on CTCs. A set of melanoma cell surface markers was tested as candidates for targeted melanoma CTC isolation and a melanoma specific immunostaining-based CTC identification protocol combined with PD-L1 detection was established. In vitro testing of the effect of exposure to blood cells on melanoma cell PD-L1 expression was undertaken. Immunomagnetic targeting isolated melanoma CTCs in up to 87.5% of stage IV melanoma patient blood samples and 3 8.6% of these had some PD-L1 expressing CTCs. Our in vitro data demonstrate PD-L1 induction on melanoma cells in the blood.This study established a robust, reliable method to isolate melanoma CTCs and detect expression of PD-L1 on these cells.
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Po, J.W., Ma, Y., Balakrishna, B., Brungs, D., Azimi, F., de Souza, P., and Becker, T.M. Immunomagnetic isolation of circulating melanoma cells and detection of PD-L1 status. 21639. 2018 PLoS One (14):2.
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