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For inoperable esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), identifying patients likely to benefit from recently approved immunochemotherapy (ICI+CTX) treatments remains a key challenge. We address this using a uniquely designed window-of-opportunity trial (LUD2015-005), in which 35 inoperable EAC patients received first-line immune checkpoint inhibitors for four weeks (ICI-4W), followed by ICI+CTX. Comprehensive biomarker profiling, including generation of a 65,000-cell single-cell RNA-sequencing atlas of esophageal cancer, as well as multi-timepoint transcriptomic profiling of EAC during ICI-4W, reveals a novel T cell inflammation signature (INCITE) whose upregulation correlates with ICI-induced tumor shrinkage. Deconvolution of pre-treatment gastro-esophageal cancer transcriptomes using our single-cell atlas identifies high tumor monocyte content (TMC) as an unexpected ICI+CTX-specific predictor of greater overall survival (OS) in LUD2015-005 patients and of ICI response in prevalent gastric cancer subtypes from independent cohorts. Tumor mutational burden is an additional independent and additive predictor of LUD2015-005 OS. TMC can improve patient selection for emerging ICI+CTX therapies in gastro-esophageal cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Cell

Publication Date





1222 - 1241.e7


cell type deconvolution, esophageal cancer, immune checkpoint inhibitors, immune priming, immunochemotherapy, molecular profiling, predictive biomarkers, single-cell RNA-sequencing atlas, tumor associated monocytes, tumor mutational burden, Humans, Monocytes, Adenocarcinoma, Esophageal Neoplasms, Immunotherapy, Stomach Neoplasms