Addressing challenges with real-world synthetic control arms to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of Pralsetinib in non-small cell lung cancer

Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 17;13(1):3500. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30908-1.


As advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC) is being increasingly divided into rare oncogene-driven subsets, conducting randomised trials becomes challenging. Using real-world data (RWD) to construct control arms for single-arm trials provides an option for comparative data. However, non-randomised treatment comparisons have the potential to be biased and cause concern for decision-makers. Using the example of pralsetinib from a RET fusion-positive aNSCLC single-arm trial (NCT03037385), we demonstrate a relative survival benefit when compared to pembrolizumab monotherapy and pembrolizumab with chemotherapy RWD cohorts. Quantitative bias analyses show that results for the RWD-trial comparisons are robust to data missingness, potential poorer outcomes in RWD and residual confounding. Overall, the study provides evidence in favour of pralsetinib as a first-line treatment for RET fusion-positive aNSCLC. The quantification of potential bias performed in this study can be used as a template for future studies of this nature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Pyrimidines


  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridines
  • Pyrimidines
  • pralsetinib

Associated data