The efficacy and possible mechanisms of immune checkpoint inhibitors in treating non-small cell lung cancer patients with epidermal growth factor receptor mutation

Cancer Commun (Lond). 2021 Oct 26. doi: 10.1002/cac2.12229. Online ahead of print.


Over the past few years, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have greatly improved the survival for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without driver mutations. Compared with wild-type tumors, tumors with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations show more heterogeneity in the expression level of programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), tumor mutational burden (TMB), and other immune microenvironment characteristics. Whether ICIs are suitable for NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations is still worth exploring. In previous studies, no significantly improved benefits were observed with immunotherapy monotherapy in NSCLC patients with EGFR mutation. Here, we summarized and analyzed data from the clinical trials of ICIs or combined therapy in NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations. We also focused on the mechanisms affecting the efficacy of ICIs in NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations, the characteristics of potential responders, and provided insights into areas worth further investigations in future studies.

Keywords: EGFR mutation; efficacy; immune checkpoint inhibitor; non-small cell lung cancer; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Review