Immunotherapy as second-line treatment and beyond for non-small cell lung cancer in a single center of China: Outcomes, toxicities, and clinical predictive factors from a real-world retrospective analysis

Lung Cancer

Chen M, et al. Thorac Cancer 2020.


BACKGROUND: Real-world evidence of second-line treatment and beyond with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in Chinese patients is lacking. Here, we aimed to assess the efficacy, responses, and immune-related side effects of anti-PD-1 agents in real-life practice.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed consecutive patients who received nivolumab or pembrolizumab monotherapy at Peking Medical College Hospital. We collected baseline characteristics, evaluated treatment efficacy, and categorized immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). Predictive factors of treatment response were also determined.

RESULTS: The study included 97 patients with a median age of 64 years. The majority of patients were male, with nonsquamous histological type and advanced stage tumor, and had a history of smoking. Most patients received ICIs as second-line therapy. Expression of PD-L1 was detected in 34.11% patients. Overall response rate (ORR) and disease control rate (DCR) were 16.49% and 60.82%, respectively. None of the patients achieved complete response (CR). The median PFS and OS were150 days and 537 days, respectively. The incidence of immune-related toxicities was similar to the one previously reported. Patients with driver gene mutations had shorter PFS than patients without, while patients who encountered irAE had relatively longer PFS.

CONCLUSIONS: The real-world clinical outcome of ICIs in second- and further-line NSCLC therapy is promising. Several characteristics may have predictive value for efficacy. Occurrence of irAEs during treatment was acceptable and could be an independent positive predictive for PFS.

KEY POINTS: SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS OF THE STUDY: Efficacy and safety profile of ICIs as second-line treatment or above for patients with NSCLC are promising in real world circumstances Incidence and median time to the occurrence of irAEs vary between organs WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS: Driver gene mutations are associated with lower progression-free survival Occurrence of irAEs is associated with higher progression-free survival.