Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies versus docetaxel in patients with previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer

Qi Jiang, Mixue Xie, Mengye He, Feifei Yan, Xiaochen Zhang and Sufen Yu _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:7672-7683. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23584

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Qi Jiang1,*, Mixue Xie2,*, Mengye He1, Feifei Yan1, Xiaochen Zhang1 and Sufen Yu1

1Department of Medical Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 310003, China

2Senior Department of Haematology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, 310003, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work and share the first authorship

Correspondence to:

Sufen Yu, email: [email protected]

Xiaochen Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PD-1; PD-L1; immune checkpoint inhibitor; non-small cell lung cancer; meta-analysis

Received: June 03, 2017     Accepted: December 13, 2017     Published: December 21, 2017


Anti- PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies have been proved one of the most promising treatments against non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, whether anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies can provide added benefits for pretreated patients with advanced NSCLC and which patients are most likely to benefit from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy remain controversial. This meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety between anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies and docetaxel in previously treated, advanced NSCLC. PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane library databases were systematically searched for eligible studies. Five studies with a total of 3,025 patients were included. Our results showed that, for all patients, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy prolonged overall survival (OS) (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.63–0.75) and progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80–0.94). For patients with PD-L1 expression ≥1%, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy had higher objective response rates. In subgroup analysis according to the tumor PD-L1 expression level, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy was associated with longer OS and PFS in patients with high PD-L1 expression (≥1%, ≥5%, ≥10% and ≥50%), but not in those with low expressions. In subgroup analysis of patients’ characteristics, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies showed OS benefits across most prespecified subgroups, except for patients with EGFR mutation-positive and never smokers. For patients with EGFR mutation, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy was an unfavorable factor of PFS. The grade 3 or 4 adverse events rates of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 treatment were significantly lower than that of docetaxel. Our results suggest that anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy significantly improves survival compared with docetaxel in patients with previously treated, PD-L1-positive, advanced NSCLC, and has a distinct safety profile from chemotherapy.

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