Real-world experience of nivolumab in the treatment of poor performance status patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer

M. Nazim Abbas, Myron Klevansky, Bogda Koczwara, Amitesh Chandra Roy, Shawgi Sukumaran, Sina Vatandoust, Christos Stelios Karapetis

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Background: Nivolumab improves disease control and survival in advanced NSCLC in patients with good performance status (PS), but there is limited data on its efficacy in patients with poor PS. Aim: Primary objective of the study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of nivolumab and examine the influence of PS on outcomes. Methods and Results: Retrospective analysis of patients treated with single-agent nivolumab for advanced NSCLC at a single institution was performed. Sixty-six patients treated with nivolumab were identified (33 male) with a median age of 68.5 years. Fifty-six (85%) patients were current or former smokers and 17 (26%) had brain metastasis. All patients had received prior chemotherapy, 39 (59%) patients received one and 27 (41%) had ≥2 prior lines of therapy. Median overall survival (OS) was 7.1 months (95%CI 3.61–11.3) in the overall study population. OS of patients with PS ≥2 at the start of treatment was 3.04 months (95%CI 1.64–7.36) as compared to 10.23 months (95%CI 7.06–18.9) with PS ≤1. The overall response rate was 7% (four patients had a partial response), 23 (40%) patients had stable disease; the overall disease control rate (partial response and stable disease) was 47%. Twenty-six (40%) patients had PS ≥2 at the start of treatment and 2 (8%) of these patients developed a partial response, 4 (15%) had stable disease; the overall disease control rate was 23%. Fourteen (58%) patients with PS ≥2 had disease progression at the time of first disease response evaluation. In the overall population, 20% of patients experienced grade ≥3 treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs), most commonly pneumonitis, hepatitis, and colitis. Fourteen TRAEs led to treatment discontinuation, 9 (23%) adverse events (AEs) in patients with PS ≤1 and 5 (19%) with PS ≥2. Fourteen (21%) patients died within 30 days of the last nivolumab treatment. Conclusion: There was no significant difference in toxicity leading to treatment discontinuation between the poor and good PS groups, but survival was shorter with poorer PS. PS appears to be an important prognostic factor and remains a relevant discriminator in the selection of treatment with immunotherapy for lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1487
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Reports
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • nivolumab
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • performance status
  • real-world


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