Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH, a leader in blood microRNAs for early detection and characterization of disease, announces the publication of new study data in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Research Reports: a 5-microRNA (miRisk) signature in blood identified by Hummingbird predicts patient survival after immunotherapy of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with elevated PD-L1 expression.

The current study builds on findings published in the March 2022 review npj Precision Oncology have been published [1]. It addresses a current clinical dilemma: which patients with advanced NSCLC and PD-L1 surface protein expression on ≥ 50% of tumor cells should receive immuno-oncology (IO) therapy alone and which should receive combined immuno-chemotherapy (ICT)? Although both forms of treatment are recommended in current international guidelines, there are no biomarkers for the respective suitability of the two options in the individual patient. Optimizing the choice of therapy according to the principles of precision medicine should have a significant impact on the survival and quality of life of patients by only using toxic chemotherapy when it is really promising.

Results presented by Hummingbird Diagnostics document the significant association between overall survival (OS) and miRisk score in NSCLC patients treated with immuno-oncology and highlight the value of miRisk as a predictive biomarker of modality adequacy of IO therapy versus ICT. The miRisk score could therefore identify high-risk patients likely to benefit from combined immunochemotherapy and thus optimize the individual choice of therapy as an additional blood diagnosis.

“In patients with advanced, non-oncogene-induced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with elevated PD-L1 expression, immunotherapy is the first choice. However, there is an urgent need of biomarkers to identify patients who require additional chemotherapy,” said Timothy Rajakumar, MD PhD, Medical Director of Hummingbird Diagnostics and first author of the study. “The miRisk score is an immune-targeting biomarker that measures response specifically to immunotherapy It is suitable as a basis for complementary diagnostics for decision-making regarding immuno-oncological treatment alone or its combination with chemotherapy.

The study was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Petros Christopoulos (Thorax Clinic, University Hospital Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr. Martin Reck, (Grosshansdorf Lung Clinic). Whole blood samples were collected from all 155 patients in the prospectively studied study cohort with stage IV NSCLC with GST PD-L1 ≥ 50% before the start of purely immuno-oncology therapy (IO ) or its association with chemotherapy (ICT). The microRNAs contained in the samples were sequenced. Based on the data obtained and the clinical evolutions, the team then developed and validated a model based on five microRNAs (miRisk) to predict overall survival. According to the results, the miRisk score is significantly associated with survival time and also related to the respective therapy (IO or ICT). It therefore promises to be able to support clinical decisions on the choice of therapy.

Bruno Steinkraus, PhD, Scientific Director of Hummingbird Diagnostics, commented, “We believe that miRisk can serve as a model for the future use of integrative biomarkers at the ‘host level’ – and this in a field where there is an urgent need for decision criteria for “increasingly complex immunotherapy regimens. In our opinion, the easy-to-use test from peripheral blood is predestined for the control of non-invasive therapy – here the decision on immunotherapy unique compared to combination chemoimmunotherapy in NSCLC patients with elevated PD-L1 expression.”

The open access article is available online on the journal’s website:

[1]Rajakumar T et al. A blood-based miRNA signature with prognostic value for overall survival in advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer treated with immunotherapy. NPJ Precis Oncol 2022; 6:19

About Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH

Hummingbird uses the analysis of miRNAs in blood to gain knowledge about diseases and their treatment. Analysis of miRNAs with Hummingbird’s technology platform offers potential for early detection, disease-specific prognosis, prediction of therapeutic response, and development of patient-centered treatment options.

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Source: BusinessWire

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