Epic Sciences and collaborators publish study on new blood test showing expression of PD-L1 on circulating cells is associated with worse outcomes in lung cancer patients not treated with PD-1 inhibitors

Results confirm the clinical validity of PD-L1+ rare cells in blood samples, sets the stage for predictive benefit with novel PD-1 inhibitors

San Diego, May 8, 2017

Investigators from Yale, USC, UC San Diego, and Epic Sciences published findings in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showing that the presence of PD-L1 protein on circulating cells from newly diagnosed lung cancer patients is prognostic of poor survival when patients are treated with standard of care therapeutics not including PD-1 inhibitors.

Novel immuno-oncology therapies, such as PD-1 inhibitors, have been quickly adopted in advanced lung cancer patients. However, patient benefit is variable, which may be due to an inability to accurately test for PD-L1 status and select patients who would best respond to PD-1 inhibitors. 

Currently only lung biopsy tissue tests have demonstrated evidence to help in predicting which patients may benefit from novel PD-1 inhibitors. However, lung biopsy tests are underutilized because of their poor performance accuracy and require an invasive biopsy which have significant risks, and cannot be serially repeated like a blood test.

“We have a major need for non-invasive tests to help identify lung cancer patients who will benefit from PD-1 inhibitors,” said Daniel Boffa, MD, associate professor of surgery at Yale and lead author of the study. “Demonstrating that a blood test can identify PD-L1 protein expression on circulating cells and showing that this is associated with poor outcomes is an essential step to utilizing a liquid biopsy test for clinical decision making.”

The publication describes Epic Sciences novel PD-L1 blood test and application of the test towards 112 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Patients were followed for up to four years, with the analysis demonstrating that PD-L1 expression in blood samples was associated with patients having worse overall survival regardless of clinical staging.

“This study presents the largest examination to-date towards demonstrating clinical utility of a non-invasive PD-L1 blood test for advanced lung cancer,” said Ryan Dittamore, vice president of translational research and clinical affairs, Epic Sciences and co-author on the study. “We are rapidly accelerating our clinical development of the PD-L1 blood test and other immune-oncology liquid biopsy tests to meet this important medical need.”

The PD-L1 blood test described in the publication was developed by Epic Sciences and incorporates single-cell, automated analysis of circulating tumor cells from a patient blood sample. The Epic Sciences PD-L1 blood test is being prospectively analyzed in multiple clinical trials for response to PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors in multiple clinical indications.

Epic Sciences is currently partnered with 40 biopharmaceutical companies and 25 academic institutes to advance novel non-invasive predictive tests for cancer therapy decision making.

The research paper was published online can be found here.

About Epic Sciences

Epic Sciences, Inc. is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences' mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient's journey. The company was founded on a powerful platform to identify and characterize rare cells, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Epic Sciences' no cell left behind® technology helps match patients to targeted therapies and monitor for drug resistance, so that the best treatment path can be chosen at every clinical decision point. Today, we partner with leading pharmaceutical companies and major cancer centers around the world. Epic Sciences' goal is to commercialize our technology to increase the success rate of cancer drugs in clinical trials and improve patient outcomes by providing physicians real-time information to guide treatment choices.

Further information is available on the Company's website, www.epicsciences.com. Stay in touch on LinkedIn, on Twitter @EpicSciences or on Facebook.com/EpicSciences.

Media Contact: Jessica Yingling, Ph.D., Little Dog Communications Inc., jessica@litldog.com, +1.858.344.8091