High Serum Levels of CCL20 Are Associated with Recurrence and Unfavorable Overall Survival in Advanced Melanoma Patients Receiving Immunotherapy


Background: Immune checkpoint inhibition has revolutionized melanoma therapy, but many patients show primary or secondary resistance. Biomarkers are, therefore, urgently required to predict response prior to the initiation of therapy and to monitor disease progression. Methods: In this prospective study, we analyzed the serum C-C motif chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) concentration using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Blood was obtained at baseline before the initiation of immunotherapy with anti-PD-1 monotherapy or Nivolumab and Ipilimumab in advanced melanoma patients (stages III and IV) enrolled at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The CCL20 levels were correlated with clinico-pathological parameters and disease-related outcomes. Results: An increased C-C motif chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) concentration (≥0.34 pg/mL) at baseline was associated with a significantly impaired progression-free survival (PFS) in the high-CCL20 group (3 months (95% CI: 2–6 months) vs. 11 months (95% CI: 6–26 months)) (p = 0.0033) and could be identified as an independent negative prognostic factor for PFS in univariate (Hazard Ratio (HR): 1.98, 95% CI 1.25–3.12, p = 0.004) and multivariate (HR: 1.99, 95% CI 1.21–3.29, p = 0.007) Cox regression analysis, which was associated with a higher risk than S100 (HR: 1.74). Moreover, high CCL20 levels were associated with impaired overall survival (median OS not reached for low-CCL20 group, p = 0.042) with an HR of 1.85 (95% CI 1.02–3.37, p = 0.043) in univariate analysis similar to the established prognostic marker S100 (HR: 1.99, 95% CI: 1.02–3.88, p = 0.043). Conclusions: CCL20 may represent a novel blood-based biomarker for the prediction of resistance to immunotherapy that can be used in combination with established strong clinical predictors (e.g., ECOG performance score) and laboratory markers (e.g., S100) in advanced melanoma patients. Future prospective randomized trials are needed to establish CCL20 as a liquid biopsy-based biomarker in advanced melanoma.

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StatusVeröffentlicht - 29.04.2024