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Stool Microbiome Profiling of Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Receiving Anti–PD-1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Salgia N, Bergerot P, Maia M, Trent J, Highlander S, Pal S,  (2020) European Urology August 19, 2020 DOI:10.1016/j.eururo.2020.07.011 

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Preclinical models and early clinical data suggest an interplay between the gut microbiome and response to immunotherapy in solid tumors including metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). We sought to characterize the stool microbiome of mRCC patients receiving a checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) and to assess treatment-related changes in microbiome composition over the course of CPI therapy. Stool was collected from 31 patients before initiation of nivolumab (77%) or nivolumab plus ipilimumab (23%) therapy, of whom 58% experienced clinical benefit. Greater microbial diversity was associated with clinical benefit from CPI therapy ( p =  0.001), and multiple species were associated with clinical benefit or lack thereof. Temporal profiling of the microbiome indicated that the relative abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila increased in patients deriving clinical benefit from CPIs. This study substantiates results from previous CPI-related microbiome profiling studies in mRCC. Temporal changes in microbiome composition suggest potential utility in modulating the microbiome for more successful CPI outcomes.

Patient summary

We compared the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome in patients receiving immunotherapy for renal cell carcinoma. We found that higher microbial diversity is associated with better treatment outcomes. Treatment response is characterized by changes in microbial species over the course of treatment.