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A meta-analysis on immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer between East Asians versus non-East Asians

  • Peng, Siyu1
  • Ying, Ariel Fangting1
  • Tai, Bee Choo1, 1
  • Soo, Ross Andrew1,
  • 1 ; , (Singapore)
Published Article
Translational Lung Cancer Research
AME Publishing Company
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
DOI: 10.21037/tlcr-20-246
PMID: 32953491
PMCID: PMC7481594
PubMed Central


Background We conducted a meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) (PD-1/L1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors) in first and subsequent lines in East Asians and non-East Asians. Methods We searched PubMed-MEDLINE, Embase and Scopus, from inception to 20 Sep 2019, and reviewed major conferences’ abstracts, for randomised controlled trials of ICI in advanced-stage NSCLC (Stage IIIB or IV) without EGFR mutation that reported hazard ratios (HRs) stratified by geographical region including the region “Asia” or “East Asia”. The primary outcome measures were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). The pooled HR and its 95% confidence interval (CI) for OS and PFS in East Asians and non-East Asians were calculated using a random effect model and the difference compared using an interaction test. Results A total of 5,465 patients from 7 randomised controlled trials involving CTLA-4 and/or PD-1/L1 inhibitors were included, with 1,740 (32%) East Asians and 3,725 (68%) non-East Asians. ICI was associated with an improvement in OS and PFS for both East Asian (OS HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.65–0.85; PFS HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.40–0.79) and non-East Asian patients (OS HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.72–0.85; PFS HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56–0.85), with no significant difference between the two groups (Pinteraction=0.55 for OS; Pinteraction=0.33 for PFS). Subgroup analyses showed a statistically significant superior PFS (but not OS) for East Asians than non-East Asians in trials that used immune checkpoint inhibitor in the first-line treatment (Pinteraction=0.02). No significant regional difference was found in further subgroups of pure ICI and combination of ICI with chemotherapy. Conclusions There is no significant difference in response to ICI between East Asians and non-East Asians with advanced stage NSCLC, and the statistically significant subgroup difference in PFS in the first line use of ICI may not be clinically significant.

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