The efficacy of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy and its comparison with EGFR-TKIs for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Zhixin Sheng, Xu Zhu, Yanhua Sun and Yanxia Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:57826-57835. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18406

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Zhixin Sheng1, Xu Zhu1, Yanhua Sun1 and Yanxia Zhang2

1Department of Hematology, Weifang People’s Hospital, Weifang, China

2Department of Oncology, Linyi People’s Hospital, Linyi, China

Correspondence to:

Yanxia Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy, atezolizumab, pembrolizumab, nivolumab, NSCLC

Received: February 24, 2017     Accepted: May 12, 2017     Published: June 08, 2017


Purpose: To better understand the efficacy and safety of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (atezolizumab, pembrolizumab, nivolumab) in patients with previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: The Cochrane Controlled Trial Register, Embase, Medline, and the Science Citation Index were searched for prospective published reports of atezolizumab, pembrolizumab, nivolumab in previously treated patients with advanced NSCLC.

Results: Finally, we identified 14 prospective published reports including four trials of atezolizumab covering 542 subjects, three trials of pembrolizumab covering 1566 subjects, seven trials of nivolumab covering 1678 subjects. When compared to docetaxel, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy could significantly improve overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0.67, P<0.001) and progression-free survival (HR 0.83, P=0.002) for previously treated patients with advanced NSCLC. Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy produced an overall response rate of 19% in the 2374 evaluable patients. When using docetaxel as the common comparator, indirect comparison of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy versus EGFR-TKIs showed progression-free survival benefit (HR 0.62, P<0.001) and overall survival benefit (HR 0.60, P<0.001) for those patients with EGFR wild-type. Meanwhile, for those EGFR mutant patients, indirect comparison indicated that anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy was inferior to EGFR-TKIs therapy in terms of progression-free survival (HR 3.20, P<0.001), but no survival difference (HR 1.30, P=0.18).

Conclusion: Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy could produce progression-free survival and overall survival improvement over docetaxel for patients with previously treated NSCLC. For EGFR wild-type patients, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy seemed to prolong progression-free survival and overall survival when compared to EGFR-TKIs. Meanwhile, for these EGFR mutant patients, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy was inferior to EGFR-TKIs therapy in terms of progression-free survival.

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