Prognostic and predictive value of angiogenesis-associated serum proteins for immunotherapy in esophageal cancer

February, 02, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have significantly improved patient survival in multiple cancers. However, therapy response in esophageal cancer is limited to subgroups of patients and clinically useful predictive biomarkers are lacking.


We collected a series of plasma samples from 91 patients with esophageal cancer before and after ICI treatment. The Olink Immuno-Oncology panel (92 proteins) with proximity extension assays was used to detect the dynamic changes in plasma and potential biomarkers associated with treatment outcomes. We screened all survival-related proteins and established a risk score model to better predict the prognosis and treatment response in patients with esophageal cancer immunotherapy.


We found that 47 out of 92 quantified proteins had significant changes in plasma levels during ICI treatment (p<0.050), and these changed proteins were involved in immune-related reactions, such as intercellular adhesion and T-cell activation. Notably, the baseline levels of three angiogenesis-related proteins (IL-8, TIE2, and HGF) were significantly associated with the survival outcomes of patients treated with ICIs (p<0.050). According to these prognostic proteins, we established an angiogenesis-related risk score, which could be a superior biomarker for ICI response prediction. In addition, antiangiogenic therapy combined with ICIs significantly improved overall survival compared with ICI monotherapy (p=0.044).


An angiogenesis-related risk score based on three proteins (IL-8, TIE2, and HGF) could predict ICI response and prognosis in patients with esophageal cancer, which warrants verification in the future. Our study highlights the potential application of combining ICIs and antiangiogenic therapy and supports Olink plasma protein sequencing as a liquid biopsy method for biomarker exploration.

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