Peripheral surrogates of tumor burden to guide chemotherapeutic and immunotherapeutic strategies for HPV-associated malignancies

Meghali Goswami, Jeffrey Schlom _ and Renee N. Donahue

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Oncotarget. 2023; 14:758-774. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28487

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Meghali Goswami1, Jeffrey Schlom1 and Renee N. Donahue1

1 Center for Immuno-Oncology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Correspondence to:

Jeffrey Schlom, email: [email protected]

Keywords: HPV-associated malignancies; immunotherapy; circulating tumor DNA; circulating tumor cells; HPV-specific antibodies

Received: June 06, 2023     Accepted: July 22, 2023     Published: August 10, 2023

Copyright: © 2023 Goswami et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


With the rapid adoption of immunotherapy into clinical practice for HPV-associated malignancies, assessing tumor burden using “liquid biopsies” would further our understanding of clinical outcomes mediated by immunotherapy and allow for tailoring of treatment based on real-time tumor dynamics. In this review, we examine translational studies on peripheral surrogates of tumor burden derived from peripheral blood in HPV-associated malignancies, including levels and methylation of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), miRNA derived from extracellular vesicles, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and HPV-specific antibodies and T cell responses. We review their utility as prognostic and predictive biomarkers of response to chemotherapy and radiation, with a focus on how they may inform and guide immunotherapies to treat locally advanced and metastatic HPV-associated malignancies. We also highlight unanswered questions that must be addressed to translate and integrate these peripheral tumor biomarkers into the clinic.

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