Outcomes With Pembrolizumab Monotherapy in Patients With Programmed Death-Ligand 1-Positive NSCLC With Brain Metastases: Pooled Analysis of KEYNOTE-001, 010, 024, and 042

JTO Clin Res Rep. 2021 Jul 1;2(8):100205. doi: 10.1016/j.jtocrr.2021.100205. eCollection 2021 Aug.


Introduction: We retrospectively evaluated outcomes in patients with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to determine whether baseline (i.e., at study enrollment) brain metastases were associated with the efficacy of pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy.

Methods: We pooled data for patients with previously treated or untreated PD-L1‒positive (tumor proportion score [TPS], ≥1%) advanced or metastatic NSCLC in KEYNOTE-001 (NCT01295827), KEYNOTE-010 (NCT01905657), KEYNOTE-024 (NCT02142738), and KEYNOTE-042 (NCT02220894). Patients received pembrolizumab (2 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, or 200 mg every 3 wk or 10 mg/kg every 2 wk); chemotherapy was a comparator in all studies except KEYNOTE-001. All studies included patients with previously treated, stable brain metastases.

Results: A total of 3170 patients were included, 293 (9.2%) with and 2877 (90.8%) without baseline brain metastases; median (range) follow-up at data cutoff was 12.9 (0.1‒43.7) months. Pembrolizumab improved overall survival versus chemotherapy in patients with or without baseline brain metastases: benefit was seen in patients with PD-L1 TPS ≥50% (0.67 [95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.44‒1.02] and 0.66 [95% CI: 0.58‒0.76], respectively) and PD-L1 TPS ≥1% (0.83 [95% CI: 0.62‒1.10] and 0.78 [95% CI: 0.71‒0.85], respectively). Progression-free survival was improved, objective response rates were higher, and duration of response was longer with pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy regardless of brain metastasis status. The incidence of treatment-related adverse events with pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy was 66.3% versus 84.4% in patients with brain metastases and 67.2% versus 88.3% in those without.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab monotherapy improved outcomes and was associated with fewer adverse events than chemotherapy in patients with treatment-naive and previously treated PD-L1‒positive advanced/metastatic NSCLC regardless of the presence of baseline treated, stable brain metastases.

Keywords: Brain metastases; Chemotherapy; Non‒small-cell lung cancer; PD-L1; Pembrolizumab.