Background: In the era of immunotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) has changed the treatment paradigm in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Along with clinical trials, there is an ongoing investigation to discover the predictive biomarker of ICI which so far has unsatisfactory reliability. As an effort to enhance the predictive value of ICI treatment, we applied deep learning and developed artificial intelligent (AI) score (range from 0 to 1) to analyze the specific context of immune-tumor microenvironment (TME) extracted by scanned images from H&E slides.
Methods: As a ground work, deep learning-based H&E image analyzer, Lunit SCOPE, has been trained with H&E images (n = 1824) from ICI naive NSCLC samples. For the calculation of AI score, training was conducted using responder/non-responder labeled ICI treated samples from the exploratory cohort. The ICI responder was defined as the patient with a best overall response of partial or complete response and stable disease for more than 6 months. The positivity of PD-L1 immunohistochemistry (IHC) was assessed manually by pathologists.
Results: The exploratory cohort is composed of NSCLC patients treated with ICI (n = 189) in Samsung Medical Center, and response to ICI was observed in 72 (38.1%) patients. Median follow-up duration was 6.8 months (6.6~8.2). Samples with PD-L1 IHC positive, defined by ≥ 1%, was observed in 138 (73.0%) patients. AI score was significant higher in the responder group (median: 0.391 vs 0.205, P = 6.14e-5), and the patients with AI score above the cut-off (0.337) showed a better response to ICI (odds ratio [OR] 3.47 P = 7.34e-5) which is higher than patients with PD-L1 ≥ 1% (OR 1.92, P = 0.069). High AI score group (n = 83) showed significantly favorable PFS compared to low AI score group (n = 106, median PFS: 5.1m vs 1.9m, hazard ratio [HR] 0.51, P = 9.6e-5) and this outcome was independent with PD-L1 status (P = 6.0e-5). In subgroup analysis, PFS of PD-L1 high / AI score high group (n = 63) had longer median PFS (6.7m) compared to both PD-L1 high / AI score low group (n = 70, 4.0m, P = 0.001) and PD-L1 low/AI score low group (n = 35, 1.9m, P = 4.0e-6). Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) density of cancer epithelium was significantly correlated with AI score (Pearson’s r = 0.310, P = 1.43e-5), which suggests that AI score may partly reflect TME represented by TIL.
Conclusions: The AI score by machine-learned information, extracted from H&E images without additional IHC stain, could predict responsiveness and PFS of ICI treatment independent of PD-L1 IHC positivity.
Sehhoon Park, Chang Ho Ahn, Geunyoung Jung, Sarah Lee, Kyunghyun Paeng, Jiwon Shin, Inwan Yoo, Hyun Ae Jung, Jong-Mu Sun, Jin Seok Ahn, Myung-Ju Ahn, Keunchil Park, Yoon La Choi, Sang-Yong Song, Se-Hoon Lee
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; Lunit Inc., Seoul, South Korea; Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Centre, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea; Department of Pathology and Translational Genomics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
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