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Anti–PD-1 Monotherapy for Advanced NSCLC Patients with Older Age or Those with Poor Performance Status

Authors Matsubara T, Seto T, Takamori S, Fujishita T, Toyozawa R, Ito K, Yamaguchi M, Okamoto T

Received 11 January 2021

Accepted for publication 25 February 2021

Published 17 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1961—1968


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Federico Perche

Taichi Matsubara, Takashi Seto, Shinkichi Takamori, Takatoshi Fujishita, Ryo Toyozawa, Kensaku Ito, Masafumi Yamaguchi, Tatsuro Okamoto

Department of Thoracic Oncology, National Hospital Organization Kyushu Cancer Center, Fukuoka, Japan

Correspondence: Taichi Matsubara
Department of Thoracic Oncology, National Hospital Organization Kyushu Cancer Center, 3-1-1, Notame, Minami-Ku, Fukuoka, 811-1395, Japan
Tel +81-92-541-3231
Fax +81-92-551-4585
Email [email protected]

Purpose: Anti-programmed death 1 (PD-1) antibodies have emerged as frontline treatments for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) on the basis of global Phase III trials. However, current data regarding responses to anti–PD-1 therapy in older patients with NSCLC or those with poor performance status (PS) are limited. Therefore, we examined the therapeutic effect of anti PD-1 antibody in these patients.
Patients: We retrospectively examined consecutive patients treated with anti–PD-1 monotherapy (pembrolizumab or nivolumab) from January 2016 to September 2018.
Results: We enrolled 125 patients (median age, 60 years), 80.8% of whom were men. Patients aged ≥ 75 years were considered older patients (n = 15), and those with PS 2– 3 were regarded as having poor PS (n = 11). The objective response and disease control rates were 15.4% and 46.2%, respectively, in older patients and 9.1% and 27.3%, respectively, in those with poor PS. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) did not significantly differ between older and younger patients. However, poor PS was significantly associated with poor survival. High programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in tumor specimens (≥ 50%) was associated with favorable survival in the entire cohort as well as patients with poor PS. Safety analyses demonstrated no significant difference in the occurrence of any adverse event, including grade ≥ 3 adverse events, between patients with poor PS or older age and the remaining patients.
Conclusion: Anti–PD-1 therapy had similar efficacy in older and younger patients with NSCLC, whereas survival was significantly worse in patients with poor PS. However, immune checkpoint inhibitors may be considered for patients with poor PS harboring positive PD-L1 expression.

Keywords: immunotherapy, non-small cell lung cancer, lung cancer, prognosis

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