High serum sodium predicts immunotherapy response in metastatic renal cell and urothelial carcinoma

Klümper N, Cox A, Eckstein M, Kuppe C, Ritter M, Brossart P, Luetkens J, Hölzel M, Stein J, Saal J (2024)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2024


Book Volume: 204

Article Number: 114089

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2024.114089


Objectives: The development of reliable biomarkers for the prediction of immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) response in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and urothelial carcinoma (mUC) remains an unresolved challenge. Conventional ICI biomarkers typically focus on tumor-related factors such as PD-L1 expression. However, a comprehensive evaluation of the predictive value of serum electrolyte levels, a so far widely unexplored area, is still pending. Methods: We conducted a post-hoc analysis of baseline sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium levels in two independent phase 3 clinical trials: IMvigor211 for mUC comparing atezolizumab to chemotherapy, and IMmotion151 for mRCC comparing atezolizumab+bevacizumab to sunitinib. This analysis aimed to evaluate the prognostic and predictive value of these electrolyte levels in these clinical settings. A total of 1787 patients (IMvigor211 n = 901; IMmotion151 n = 886) were analyzed. Results: We found a linear correlation of baseline serum sodium and chloride with prognosis across both trials, which was not found for potassium, magnesium and calcium. In multivariate analysis, the prognostic capacity of sodium was limited to patients receiving ICI as compared to the control group. Interestingly, in both studies, the chance of achieving an objective response was highest in the patient subgroup with high baseline serum sodium levels of > 140 mmol/L (IMmotion151: Complete response in 17.9% versus 2.0% in patients with mRCC with baseline sodium < 135 mmol/L). Serum sodium outperformed tumor PD-L1 expression as a predictor for immunotherapy efficacy. Conclusions: Patients exhibiting elevated serum sodium levels derive the greatest benefit from immunotherapy, suggesting that baseline serum concentration could serve as a valuable and cost-effective predictive biomarker for immunotherapy across entities.

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Klümper, N., Cox, A., Eckstein, M., Kuppe, C., Ritter, M., Brossart, P.,... Saal, J. (2024). High serum sodium predicts immunotherapy response in metastatic renal cell and urothelial carcinoma. European Journal of Cancer, 204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2024.114089


Klümper, Niklas, et al. "High serum sodium predicts immunotherapy response in metastatic renal cell and urothelial carcinoma." European Journal of Cancer 204 (2024).

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