CKLF-like MARVEL transmembrane domain containing 6 (CMTM6) plays a crucial role in the stability of the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). However, there has been no previous study of CMTM6 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its association with PD-L1 has not been confirmed. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of CMTM6 and PD-L1 and to confirm their predictive roles for anti-PD-1 therapy in non-small cell lung cancer. CMTM6 and PD-L1 immunohistochemical expressions were evaluated in 35 advanced, treatment-refractory NSCLC patients who received PD-1 inhibitor therapy. The correlation between CMTM6 and PD-L1 expression was also determined based on immunohistochemistry and RNA-sequencing data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. CMTM6 expression was positively correlated with PD-L1 expression in immunohistochemical data (Pearson's r = 0.342 and p = .044). A positive correlation was also identified in the mRNA expression data. Using receiver operating characteristic curves, the levels of CMTM6 and PD-L1 expression which provided the best distinguishing point between responder versus non-responder to PD-1 inhibitors were 70 and 75 H-scores, respectively. The patients in the PD-1 inhibitor responder group had higher CMTM6 expressions in univariate logistic regression analysis (odds ratio (OR) = 5.333, p = .037). However, PD-L1 expression was not associated with response to PD-1 inhibitor (p = .288). In multivariate analysis, CMTM6 was also found to be an independent predictor of the response to PD-1 inhibitors (OR = 6.226, p = .032). CMTM6 expression can be a promising predictor useful for therapeutic decision-making regarding PD-1 inhibitors.
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