Immune checkpoint blockade leads to unprecedented responses in many cancers. Although currently available agents mostly target the PD-1 and CTLA-4 pathways, agents targeting the immune checkpoint protein LAG-3 are under active clinical development, and early clinical data show that LAG-3 expression is a biomarker of response to LAG-3 blockade. To determine which cancers may benefit most from LAG-3 blockade, we performed a pan-cancer analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset to identify genomic and immunologic correlates of LAG-3 expression. High mutation burden, and expression of exogenous virus (EBV, HPV) or endogenous retrovirus (ERV3-2), were associated with overexpression of LAG-3 in multiple cancers. Although CD8+ T-cell marker (CD8A) and LAG-3 were strongly co-expressed with each other and with PD-L1 in most cancers, there were three notable exceptions: HPV+ head-neck squamous cell cancer, renal cell cancer, and glioblastoma. These results may have important implications for guiding development clinical trials of LAG-3 blockade.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Immune checkpoint blockade
- endogenous retrovirus
- mutation burden