Men with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have a more favorable response to immune-checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) monotherapy, while women especially benefit from ICI-chemotherapy (CHT) combinations. To elucidate such sex differences in clinical practice, we retrospectively analyzed two cohorts treated with either ICI monotherapy (n=228) or ICI-CHT combination treatment (n=80) for advanced NSCLC. Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to calculate progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS), influencing variables were evaluated using Cox-regression analyses. No significant sex differences for PFS/OS could be detected in either cohort. Men receiving ICI monotherapy had a statistically significant independent impact on PFS by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG) ≥2 (hazard ratio (HR) 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10-3.29, p=0.021), higher C-reactive protein (CRP; HR 1.06, 95%CI: 1.00-1.11, p=0.037) and negative programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) status (HR 2.04, 95%CI: 1.32-3.15, p=0.001), and on OS by CRP (HR 1.09, 95%CI: 1.03-1.14, p=0.002). In men on ICI-CHT combinations, multivariate analyses (MVA) revealed squamous histology (HR 4.00, 95%CI: 1.41-11.2, p=0.009) significant for PFS; ECOG≥2 (HR 5.58, 95%CI: 1.88-16.5, p=0.002) and CRP (HR 1.19, 95%CI: 1.06-1.32, p=0.002) for OS. Among women undergoing ICI monotherapy, no variable proved significant for PFS, ECOG≥2 had a significant interaction with OS (HR 1.90, 95%CI 1.04-3.46, p=0.037). Women treated with ICI-CHT had significant MVA findings for CRP with both PFS (HR 1.09, 95%CI: 1.02-1.16, p=0.007) and OS (HR 1.11, 95%CI: 1.03-1.19, p=0.004). Although men and women responded similarly to both ICI mono- and ICI-CHT treatment, predictors of response differed by sex.
Immunotherapy; immune-checkpoint inhibitor; response prediction; men and women; pembrolizumab; nivolumab; atezolizumab; ECOG; CRP; chemo-immunotherapy
MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Oncology & Oncogenics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.