Single-cell RNA-sequencing reveals predictive features of response to pembrolizumab in Sézary syndrome. Oncoimmunology Su, T., Duran, G. E., Kwang, A. C., Ramchurren, N., Fling, S. P., Kim, Y. H., Khodadoust, M. S. 2022; 11 (1): 2115197


The PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab is effective in treating Sézary syndrome, a leukemic variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Our purpose was to investigate the effects of pembrolizumab on healthy and malignant T cells in Sézary syndrome and to discover characteristics that predict pembrolizumab response. Samples were analyzed before and after 3 weeks of pembrolizumab treatment using single-cell RNA-sequencing of 118,961 peripheral blood T cells isolated from six Sézary syndrome patients. T-cell receptor clonotyping, bulk RNA-seq signatures, and whole-exome data were integrated to classify malignant T-cells and their underlying subclonal heterogeneity. We found that responses to pembrolizumab were associated with lower KIR3DL2 expression within Sézary T cells. Pembrolizumab modulated Sézary cell gene expression of T-cell activation associated genes. The CD8 effector populations included clonally expanded populations with a strong cytotoxic profile. Expansions of CD8 terminal effector and CD8 effector memory T-cell populations were observed in responding patients after treatment. We observed intrapatient Sézary cell heterogeneity including subclonal segregation of a coding mutation and copy number variation. Our study reveals differential effects of pembrolizumab in both malignant and healthy T cells. These data support further study of KIR3DL2 expression and CD8 immune populations as predictive biomarkers of pembrolizumab response in Sézary syndrome.

View details for DOI 10.1080/2162402X.2022.2115197

View details for PubMedID 36046812

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9423847