1. Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital Jin-Shan Branch, New Taipei City, Taiwan
2. Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei City, Taiwan
3. Graduate Institute of Pathology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei City, Taiwan
4. Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan
5. Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan
6. Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Medical Biotechnology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei City, Taiwan
7. Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei City, Taiwan
Background: Immunotherapy that targets programmed death protein-1 (PD-1) provides improved treatment efficacy and survival in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially those with high tumor expression of PD-L1. However, data on this treatment are mostly from clinical trials enrolling highly selected patients. The real-world experience of anti-PD-1 treatment and the usefulness of tumor PD-L1 expression in prediction of treatment response are largely unknown.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients with stage IIIB/ IV NSCLC who received monotherapy with nivolumab or pembrolizumab, and evaluated response using RECIST 1.1 criteria. Factors associated with treatment response, progression free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were determined.
Results: Seventy-four NSCLC patients out of 116 examined patients were included, most of whom had adenocarcinoma (48/74, 64.9%) and received immunotherapy as a third-line or subsequent treatment (51/74, 68.9%). The median PFS and OS were 1.8 and 7.9 months, respectively. The objective response rate was 32%, but only 47 of 74 patients were evaluable. Through multivariate analysis, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation was independently associated with a poor treatment response. Good performance status (ECOG≤1) and smoking were independently associated with better PFS and OS. Data on tumor PD-L1 expression were available in 43 patients (58%); higher PD-L1 expression correlated with better treatment response and longer PFS. Severe treatment-related adverse events were uncommon.
Conclusion: The efficacy and safety of anti-PD-1 medications for advanced NSCLC were comparable in real-world and clinical settings, except in those with poor ECOG scores. Prediction of treatment response from tumor PD-L1 expression seemed practical.
Keywords: Immunotherapy, Non-small cell lung cancer, Programmed death 1, Real-world, Survival