Background: The impact of pretreatment factors on immune checkpoint inhibition in platinum-refractory advanced urothelial cancer (aUC) deserves further evaluation. The aim was to study the association of Bellmunt risk factors, time from last chemotherapy (TFLC), previous therapy and PD-L1 expression with atezolizumab efficacy in platinum-refractory aUC.
Patients and methods: This was a post-hoc analysis of patients who had received prior cisplatin or carboplatin in the prospective, single-arm, phase IIIb SAUL study (NCT02928406). Patients were treated with 3-weekly atezolizumab 1200 mg intravenously. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Relationships were analysed using Cox regression and long-rank test.
Results: Of 997 patients in SAUL, 969 were eligible for this analysis. The number of Bellmunt risk factors was associated with OS (P < 0.001); median OS (mOS) for 0, 1 and 2-3 risk factors was 17.9, 8.9 and 3.3 months, respectively. Significant associations were also observed between OS and TFLC (P < 0.001), programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression (P = 0.002), and prior perioperative chemotherapy (P = 0.013); mOS was 6.97 versus 11.63 months for TFLC ≤6 versus >6 months, 7.75 versus 11.6 months for PD-L1 expression on <1% of tumour-infiltrating immune cells (ICs) (IC0)/expression on 1% to <5% of tumour-infiltrating ICs (IC1) versus expression on ≥5% of tumour-infiltrating ICs (IC2/3) and 10.2 versus 7.8 months for prior versus no prior perioperative chemotherapy, respectively. The type of platinum compound and number of previous treatment lines were not associated with outcomes.
Conclusions: Post-platinum atezolizumab is active in aUC, irrespective of previous platinum compound and lines of therapy. Bellmunt risk stratification, PD-L1 expression, TFLC and perioperative chemotherapy were identified as prognostic factors for OS with second-line atezolizumab, indicating the need for novel prognostic signatures for immunotherapy-treated patients with aUC.
Keywords: PD-L1; bladder cancer; immunotherapy; platinum; prognostic factors; urothelial carcinoma.
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