Epic Sciences and collaborators publish study on new blood test showing expression of PD-L1 on circulating cells is associated with worse outcomes in lung cancer patients not treated with PD-1 inhibitors.

Investigators from Yale, USC, UC San Diego, and Epic Sciences published findings in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showing that the presence of PD-L1 protein on circulating cells from newly diagnosed lung cancer patients is prognostic of poor survival when patients are treated with standard of care therapeutics not including PD-1 inhibitors.

Novel immuno-oncology therapies, such as PD-1 inhibitors, have been quickly adopted in advanced lung cancer patients. However, patient benefit is variable, which may be due to an inability to accurately test for PD-L1 status and select patients who would best respond to PD-1 inhibitors.

Currently only lung biopsy tissue tests have demonstrated evidence to help in predicting which patients may benefit from novel PD-1 inhibitors. However, lung biopsy tests are underutilized because of their poor performance accuracy and require an invasive biopsy which have significant risks, and cannot be serially repeated like a blood test.

“We have a major need for non-invasive tests to help identify lung cancer patients who will benefit from PD-1 inhibitors,” said Daniel Boffa, MD, associate professor of surgery at Yale and lead author of the study. “Demonstrating that a blood test can identify PD-L1 protein expression on circulating cells and showing that this is associated with poor outcomes is an essential step to utilizing a liquid biopsy test for clinical decision making.”

The publication describes Epic Sciences novel PD-L1 blood test and application of the test towards 112 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Patients were followed for up to four years, with the analysis demonstrating that PD-L1 expression in blood samples was associated with patients having worse overall survival regardless of clinical staging.

“This study presents the largest examination to-date towards demonstrating clinical utility of a non-invasive PD-L1 blood test for advanced lung cancer,” said Ryan Dittamore, vice president of translational research and clinical affairs, Epic Sciences and co-author on the study. “We are rapidly accelerating our clinical development of the PD-L1 blood test and other immune-oncology liquid biopsy tests to meet this important medical need.”

The PD-L1 blood test described in the publication was developed by Epic Sciences and incorporates single-cell, automated analysis of circulating tumor cells from a patient blood sample. The Epic Sciences PD-L1 blood test is being prospectively analyzed in multiple clinical trials for response to PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors in multiple clinical indications.

Epic Sciences is currently partnered with 40 biopharmaceutical companies and 25 academic institutes to advance novel non-invasive predictive tests for cancer therapy decision making.

The research paper was published online can be found here.

About Epic Sciences

At Epic Sciences, we develop clinically proven predictive tests to detect and monitor cancer at the individual cell level. With a proprietary rare-cell detection engine, we provide insights to clinical, biotech, pharmaceutical and academic teams on how cancer emerges, mutates and remits so they can make pivotal decisions at every point in patient treatment with greater certainty. Recognizing the unique nature of each person’s cancer, we offer truly personalized diagnostic tests, while being non-invasive for the patient.

We have developed the first clinically proven predictive test for metastatic castration-resistant prostrate cancer (mCRPC), the Epic AR-V7 test. Using the same rare-cell detection platform and Epic’s biobank of over 30,000 blood samples, each profiled with predictive biomarkers, we partner with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, major cancer centers, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue additional predictive tests for breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers and diseases. Our mission is to revolutionize cancer care and therapies to make them as precise, safe and life-sustaining as humanly possible.

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