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JTO Clin Res Rep


INTRODUCTION: We evaluated tissue tumor mutational burden (tTMB) and mutations in STK11, KEAP1, and KRAS as biomarkers for outcomes with pembrolizumab plus platinum-based chemotherapy (pembrolizumab-combination) for NSCLC among patients in the phase 3 KEYNOTE-189 (, NCT02578680; nonsquamous) and KEYNOTE-407 (, NCT02775435; squamous) trials.

METHODS: This retrospective exploratory analysis evaluated prevalence of high tTMB and STK11, KEAP1, and KRAS mutations in patients enrolled in KEYNOTE-189 and KEYNOTE-407 and the relationship between these potential biomarkers and clinical outcomes. tTMB and STK11, KEAP1, and KRAS mutation status was assessed using whole-exome sequencing in patients with available tumor and matched normal DNA. The clinical utility of tTMB was assessed using a prespecified cutpoint of 175 mutations/exome.

RESULTS: Among patients with evaluable data from whole-exome sequencing for evaluation of tTMB (KEYNOTE-189, n = 293; KEYNOTE-407, n = 312) and matched normal DNA, no association was found between continuous tTMB score and overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival for pembrolizumab-combination (Wald test, one-sided p > 0.05) or placebo-combination (Wald test, two-sided p > 0.05) in patients with squamous or nonsquamous histology. Pembrolizumab-combination improved outcomes for patients with tTMB greater than or equal to 175 compared with tTMB less than 175 mutations/exome in KEYNOTE-189 (OS, hazard ratio = 0.64 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.38‒1.07] and 0.64 [95% CI: 0.42‒0.97], respectively) and KEYNOTE-407 (OS, hazard ratio = 0.74 [95% CI: 0.50‒1.08 and 0.86 [95% CI: 0.57‒1.28], respectively) versus placebo-combination. Treatment outcomes were similar regardless of KEAP1, STK11, or KRAS mutation status.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings support pembrolizumab-combination as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic NSCLC and do not suggest the utility of tTMB, STK11, KEAP1, or KRAS mutation status as a biomarker for this regimen.

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