A broad proteomic analysis was conducted to identify and evaluate candidate biomarkers potentially predictive of response to treatment with an oral selective Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) inhibitor, itacitinib, in acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Plasma samples from 25 participants (identification cohort; NCT02614612) were used to identify novel biomarkers that were tested in a validation cohort from a placebo-controlled, randomised trial (n = 210; NCT03139604). The identification cohort received corticosteroids plus 200 or 300 mg itacitinib once daily. The validation cohort received corticosteroids plus 200 mg itacitinib once daily or placebo. A broad proteomic analysis was conducted using a proximity extension assay. Baseline and longitudinal comparisons were performed with unpaired t-test and one-way analysis of variance used to evaluate biomarker level changes. Seven candidate biomarkers were identified. Monocyte-chemotactic protein (MCP)3, pro-calcitonin/calcitonin (ProCALCA/CALCA), together with a previously identified prognostic acute GVHD biomarker, regenerating islet-derived protein (REG)3A, stratified complete responders from non-responders (participants with progressive disease) to itacitinib, but not placebo, potentially representing predictive biomarkers of itacitinib in acute GVHD. ProCALCA/CALCA, suppressor of tumorigenicity (ST)2, and tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)1 were significantly reduced over time by itacitinib in responders, potentially representing response-to-treatment biomarkers. Novel biomarkers have the potential to identify patients with acute GVHD that may respond to itacitinib plus corticosteroid treatment (NCT02614612; NCT03139604).
- JAK inhibitors
- acute graft-versus-host disease