Much has changed in the last decade except overall survival: A Swiss single center analysis of treatment and survival in patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Wallrabenstein T, et al. PLoS One 2020.


BACKGROUND: Molecular therapies for cancers with targetable driver mutations and immunotherapies have revolutionized treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during the last decade. International treatment guidelines began integrating targeted therapies in 2009 and immunotherapies in 2015. The aim of this study was to examine whether the benefits described for these new therapies in pivotal phase III trials have been translated to a real world patient population.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from all consecutive patients diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC diagnosed at a community hospital in Switzerland between 2007 and 2018 were analyzed. Three groups of patients were compared, namely patients diagnosed before 2009 (group 1), between 2009 and 2015 (introduction of targeted therapies, group 2) and after 2015 (introduction of immunotherapies, group 3). The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Time to treatment failure was a secondary outcome. Both endpoints were estimated using the Kaplan Meyer method and compared by log-rank test.

RESULTS: 408 patients were included. Patient characteristics were similar in the three groups. Median OS in groups 1, 2, and 3 was 9.8 (95% CI, 6.2 to 13.4), 9.9 (95% CI, 7.6 to 12.1) and 8.6 (95% CI, 6.6 to 10.5) months, respectively (p = 0.5). Across groups patients treated with targeted- and immunotherapies had a significantly better outcome than those treated with chemotherapy or best supportive care (p<0.001). Nevertheless, OS remained unchanged between groups despite adequate molecular testing and integration of targeted- and immunotherapies. Over time, the patient population got more morbid with respect to tumor burden (p = 0.02) and co-morbidities (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: While selected subgroups of patients may benefit from new therapies, outcome in this unselected population of patients with stage IV NSCLC treated in daily practice has not improved over the last decade.