Hyperprogressors after immunotherapy: Analysis of genomic alterations associated with accelerated growth rate

Shumei Kato, Aaron Goodman, Vighnesh Walavalkar, Donald A. Barkauskas, Andrew Sharabi, Razelle Kurzrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

410 Scopus citations


Purpose: Checkpoint inhibitors demonstrate salutary anticancer effects, including long-term remissions. PD-L1 expression/ amplification, high mutational burden, and mismatch repair deficiency correlate with response. We have, however, observed a subset of patients who appear to be "hyperprogressors," with a greatly accelerated rate of tumor growth and clinical deterioration compared with pretherapy, which was also recently reported by Institut Gustave Roussy. The current study investigated potential genomic markers associated with "hyperprogression" after immunotherapy. Experimental Design: Consecutive stage IV cancer patients who received immunotherapies (CTLA-4, PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors or other [investigational] agents) and had their tumor evaluated by next-generation sequencing were analyzed (N ¼ 155). We defined hyperprogression as time-to-treatment failure (TTF) <2 months, >50% increase in tumor burden compared with preimmunotherapy imaging, and >2-fold increase in progression pace. Results: Amongst 155 patients, TTF <2 months was seen in all six individuals with MDM2/MDM4 amplification. After anti-PD1/ PDL1 monotherapy, four of these patients showed remarkable increases in existing tumor size (55% to 258%), new large masses, and significantly accelerated progression pace (2.3-, 7.1-, 7.2- and 42.3-fold compared with the 2 months before immunotherapy). In multivariate analysis, MDM2/MDM4 and EGFR alterations correlated with TTF <2 months. Two of 10 patients with EGFR alterations were also hyperprogressors (53.6% and 125% increase in tumor size; 35.7- and 41.7-fold increase). Conclusions: Some patients with MDM2 family amplification or EGFR aberrations had poor clinical outcome and significantly increased rate of tumor growth after single-agent checkpoint (PD-1/PD-L1) inhibitors. Genomic profiles may help to identify patients at risk for hyperprogression on immunotherapy. Further investigation is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4242-4250
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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