Definition of a new blood cell count score for early survival prediction for non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with atezolizumab: Integrated analysis of four multicenter clinical trials

Front Immunol. 2022 Sep 2:13:961926. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.961926. eCollection 2022.


Importance: Blood cell count test (BCT) is a robust method that provides direct quantification of various types of immune cells to reveal the immune landscape to predict atezolizumab treatment outcomes for clinicians to decide the next phase of treatment.

Objective: This study aims to define a new BCTscore model to predict atezolizumab treatment benefits in non-small lung cell cancer (NSCLC) patients.

Design setting and participants: This study analyzed four international, multicenter clinical trials (OAK, BIRCH, POPLAR, and FIR trials) to conduct post-hoc analyses of NSCLC patients undergoing atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1) single-agent treatment (n = 1,479) or docetaxel single-agent treatment (n = 707). BCT was conducted at three time points: pre-treatment (T1), the first day of treatment cycle 3 (T2), and first day of treatment cycle 5 (T3). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were conducted to identify early BCT biomarkers to predict atezolizumab treatment outcomes in NSCLC patients.

Main outcomes and measures: Overall survival (OS) was used as the primary end point, whereas progression-free survival (PFS) according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), clinical benefit (CB), and objective response rate (ORR) were used as secondary end points.

Results: The BCT biomarkers of neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) at time point T3 and neutrophil-to-monocyte ratio (NMR) at time point T2 with absolute cutoff values of NLR_T3 = 5, PLR_T3 = 180, and NMR_T2 = 6 were identified as strong predictive biomarkers for atezolizumab (Ate)-treated NSCLC patients in comparison with docetaxel (Dtx)-treated patients regarding OS (BCTscore low risk: HR Ate vs. Dtx = 1.54 (95% CI: 1.04-2.27), P = 0.031; high risk: HR Ate vs. Dtx = 0.84 (95% CI: 0.62-1.12), P = 0.235). The identified BCTscore model showed better OS AUC in the OAK (AUC12month = 0.696), BIRCH (AUC12month = 0.672) and POPLAR+FIR studies (AUC12month = 0.727) than that of each of the three single BCT biomarkers.

Conclusion and relevance: The BCTscore model is a valid predictive and prognostic biomarker for early survival prediction in atezolizumab-treated NSCLC patients.

Keywords: NSCLC; atezolizumab; biomarker; blood cell count; clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Docetaxel / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Docetaxel
  • atezolizumab