Predictive clinical parameters for the response of nivolumab in pretreated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Oncotarget. 2017 Oct 7;8(61):103117-103128. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.21602. eCollection 2017 Nov 28.


Background: Nivolumab offers a superior survival benefit over docetaxel in patients with advanced, previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). An association between programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression and the efficacy of nivolumab has been reported in many studies. However, the association between the clinical parameters and efficacy of nivolumab remains unclear in advanced NSCLC patients.

Results: Among 124 patients, 108 (88%) were performance status (PS) 0 to 1. PD-L1 expression was assessed in 89 patients, with 51 (57%) patients having PD-L1 positive expression. In all patients, the objective response rate (ORR) in patients with elevated CRP levels (≥ 1 mg/dl) was significantly worse than those without elevated CRP levels (< 1 mg/dl) (8.3 vs 23.4%, p = 0.0180). The PS (≥ 2), smoking index (< 400), CRP levels (≥ 1 mg/dl) and LDH (≥ 245 IU/L) were significantly associated with a shorter PFS and OS in patients treated with nivolumab. Multivariate analyses showed that the PS (≥ 2), smoking index (< 400), CRP levels (≥ 1 mg/dl) and LDH (≥ 245 IU/L) and PD-L1 expression were significant factors associated with a longer PFS of nivolumab.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 124 patients who received nivolumab as a subsequent treatment. The patient characteristics, laboratory data at baseline (C-reactive protein [CRP] and lactate dehydrogenase [LDH]), PD-L1 expression, nivolumab response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were evaluated.

Conclusions: Clinical parameters, such as PS, serum CRP, serum LDH, and smoking status, were significantly associated with the response duration and survival in patients treated with nivolumab.

Keywords: nivolumab; non-small cell lung cancer; programmed cell death-1(PD-1); programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1).