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Genitourinary tumours, non-prostate

4258 - Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), T cell infiltration, and outcomes with nivolumab (nivo) in urothelial cancer (UC)


10 Sep 2017


Genitourinary tumours, non-prostate


Immunotherapy;  Urothelial Cancers


Matthew Galsky


Annals of Oncology (2017) 28 (suppl_5): v295-v329. 10.1093/annonc/mdx371


M.D. Galsky1, L. Wang1, A. Saci2, P.M. Szabo2, Y. Gong1, J. Zhu1

Author affiliations

  • 1 Medicine, Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 10029 - New York/US
  • 2 Oncology, BMS, Princeton/US


Abstract 4258


The presence of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes has been associated with a higher objective response rate (ORR) to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade. Across a variety of cancers, high EMT gene expression correlates with increased T cell infiltration. The impact of these interrelated processes on outcomes with PD-1/PD-L1 blockade has not been defined.


The TCGA UC cohort (n = 405) was utilized to determine the relationship between EMT gene signature (sig) expression (200 genes in MSigDB) and infiltrating T cell abundance (ITA). ITA was inferred using mRNA expression of 144 T cell genes. A phase 2 trial of nivo in metastatic UC (CheckMate 275, n = 212) was used to determine the impact of EMT sig (HTG EdgeSeq) and CD8 expression (IHC) on ORR, progression-free (PFS), and overall survival (OS).


In the TCGA cohort, EMT sig correlated with ITA (CC = 0.60, p 


While much effort has been focused on “turning cold tumors hot” as a strategy to improve the efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade, a large proportion of “hot tumors” do not respond. Among “hot” UC, EMThigh tumors are associated with a lower ORR to nivo and shorter PFS and OS. These findings substantiate EMT as a potential mechanism of immune escape and raise the possibility of co-targeting EMT and PD-1/PD-L1 in “hot” UC.

Clinical trial identification


Legal entity responsible for the study

Matthew Galsky


Bristol-Myers Squib


M.D. Galsky: Received research funding from Bristol-Myers Squib, Novartis, and Merck and has served on advisory boards for Genentech, Merck, EMD-Serono and AstraZeneca. A. Saci and P.M. Szabo: Employees of Bristol-Myers Squib. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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