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Comment & Response
November 27, 2019

Different Biomarker Modalities and Response to Anti–PD-1/PD-L1 Therapies—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Division of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Oncol. Published online November 27, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.5154

In Reply We thank Liu and Niu for their comments on our systematic review and meta-analysis1 on biomarker modalities for predicting response to PD-1/PD-L1 (programmed cell death/programmed cell death 1 ligand 1) checkpoint blockade. Liu and Niu propose that additional subgroup analysis besides tumor type and tumor mutational burden should be explored, such as age, sex, and type of PD-L1 antibodies, and suggest performing a meta-regression analysis. In principle, such an analysis could be informative; however, the heterogeneity of the currently available studies precludes multivariable subgroup analyses. Once covariates—for example, tumor type, tumor stage, and PD-L1 immunohistochemistry assay with a specific cutoff value—are combined, meaningful subgroup comparisons are not possible because of the small number of studies in each category. In addition, only a subset of studies included individual-level patient data for age and sex. Therefore, clinical covariates, such as age, sex, and tumor stage, were examined between assay modalities using summarized characteristics from each study (eFigure 1 in the Supplement1). No meaningful differences were observed.

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