ARTICLE ABSTRACTWith the successful development of immune checkpoint blockade, there remains the continued need to improve efficacy and decrease toxicities. The addition of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to ipilimumab has previously demonstrated both an improvement in efficacy and decrease in the incidence of high-grade adverse events. ICOS+CD4+ or ICOS+CD8+ peripheral blood T cells are significantly greater in the patients treated with ipilimumab plus GM-CSF than in the patients treated with ipilimumab alone. To better understand the effects of GM-CSF on inducible T-cell costimulator (ICOS) and clinical outcomes, the relative roles of identified soluble ICOS and membrane-bound ICOS were evaluated. The ICOS splice variant was secreted and found to have immunologic suppressive effects. Changes in soluble ICOS splice variant levels in treated patients correlated with clinical outcomes. GM-CSF enhanced membrane-bound ICOS in an IL12-dependent manner but did not increase soluble ICOS levels. Whereas soluble ICOS plays a role in immune suppression, GM-CSF efficacy involves increasing membrane-bound ICOS and induction of dendritic cell development. Thus, soluble ICOS splice variants may be used as a biomarker for GM-CSF and immune checkpoint blockade–based therapies.