The state of Kentucky has the highest cancer incidence and mortality in the United States. High‐risk populations such as this are often underrepresented in clinical trials. The study aims to do a comprehensive analysis of molecular landscape of metastatic cancers among these patients with detailed evaluation of factors affecting response and outcomes to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. We performed a retrospective analysis of metastatic solid tumor patients who received ICI and underwent molecular profiling at our institution.

Sixty nine patients with metastatic solid tumors who received ICI were included in the study. Prevalence of smoking and secondhand tobacco exposure was 78.3% and 14.5%, respectively. TP53 (62.3%), CDKN1B/2A (40.5%), NOTCH and PIK3 (33.3%) were the most common alterations in tumors. 67.4% were PDL1 positive and 59.4% had intermediate‐high tumor mutational burden (TMB). Median TMB (12.6) was twofold to fourfold compared to clinical trials. The prevalence of mutations associated with smoking, homologous recombinant repair and PIK3/AKT/mTOR pathway mutations was higher compared to historic cohorts.

PDL1 expression had no significant effect on radiologic response, but PFS improvement in patients with tumors expressing PDL1 trended toward statistical significance (median 18 vs. 40 weeks. HR = 1.43. 95%CI 0.93, 4.46). Median PFS was higher in the high‐TMB cohort compared to low‐intermediate TMB (median not reached vs. 26 weeks; HR = 0.37. 95%CI 0.13, 1.05). A statistically significant improvement in PFS was observed in the PIK3 mutated cohort (median 123 vs. 23 weeks. HR = 2.51. 95%CI 1.23, 5.14). This was independent of tumor mutational burden (TMB) status or PDL1 expression status. PIK3 mutants had a higher overall response rate than the wild type (69.6% vs. 43.5%, OR 0.34; p = 0.045). The results should prompt further evaluation of these potential biomarkers and more widespread real‐world data publications which might help determine biomarkers that could benefit specific populations.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Cancer Medicine, v. 10, issue 6.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Related Content

Raw data were generated at University of Kentucky and Kentucky Cancer Registry. Derived data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author AJ on request.