Survival following immunotherapy for lung cancer is worse for elderly patients

Written by Freya Leask, Publisher

A new study, presented at the European Lung Cancer Congress (ELCC, 10—13 April 2019, Geneva, Spain), studied 98 patients between 2014 and 2018 and found elderly patients responded worse to immunotherapy.

An observational retrospective study carried out at Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal (Madrid, Spain) between 2014 and 2018 has found that patients older than 70 years of age who were treated with immunotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has significantly shorter overall survival (OS) than patients younger than 70 years (median 5.5 months vs 13 months*).

“Our results suggest that elderly patients could have worse survival outcomes with immunotherapy than younger patients, without differences in terms of toxicity,” commented study authors Elena Corral de la Fuente and Arantzazu Barquin Garcia (Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal).

Around half of patients newly diagnosed with NSCLC are elderly; in the study, 27.5% of 98 patients were aged 70 years or older. Immunotherapy was more commonly administered as a second- (61% of patients studied) or third-line or later treatment (24.5%). There was no significant different in toxicity between the under- and over-70s, but progression-free survival (PFS) was also significantly shorter in elderly patients than in younger patients (1.8 vs 3.6 months**).

“Prospective randomized clinical trials and more real-world data are needed to answer remaining questions on the use of immunotherapy in elderly patients,” Corral de la Fuente and Barquin Garcia, concluded.


* Hazard ratio [HR] 3.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.073-7.214, p<0.0001)

** HR 2.1, 95% CI 1.181-3.744, p=0.012

Want regular updates on the latest real-world evidence news straight to your inbox? Become a member on The Evidence Base® today>>>