More than one-third of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients do not receive immunochemotherapy due to intolerance

Chihiro Ando, Eiki Ichihara, Toshihide Yokoyama, Koji Inoue, Tomoki Tamura, Keiichi Fujiwara, Naohiro Oda, Hirohisa Kano, Daizo Kishino, Kazuhiko Watanabe, Masaaki Inoue, Nobuaki Ochi, Fumie Onishi, Hirohisa Ichikawa, Hiroshi Kobe, Sayaka Tachibana, Katsuyuki Hotta, Yoshinobu Maeda, Katsuyuki Kiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Combination therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and chemotherapy (ICI + chemotherapy) has become the standard first line treatment for driver oncogene-negative advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, it may be more toxic compared to monotherapy, which limits its use. Moreover, the feasibility of the combination therapy in clinical practice remains unknown. Methods: We conducted a cohort study to determine the implementation rate of ICI + chemotherapy in clinical practice. We retrospectively reviewed clinical data from advanced NSCLC patients who received systemic therapy at 13 institutions between December 2018 and December 2020. Results: After excluding 154 patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene alterations, a total of 919 NSCLC patients were included. Among them, 442 were treated with ICI + chemotherapy (48%), whereas 477 were treated with other therapies (52%). Among these 477 patients, 340 did not receive ICI + chemotherapy because of intolerance (71%); thus, more than one-third of the advanced NSCLC patients do not benefit from the combination therapy due to intolerance. Among the 659 NSCLC patients for whom PD-L1 was < 50% or unknown, only 342 received the ICI + chemotherapy combination (52%) even though it is considered preferable to either therapy alone; the remaining 318 patients were treated with other therapies (48%). Among the 318 patients who did not receive ICI + chemotherapy, 274 were intolerant to it (86%). Conclusion: Our results revealed that a substantial proportion of advanced NSCLC patients did not benefit from ICI + chemotherapy due to intolerance. As treatments for NSCLC are moving toward combinations for greater efficacy, their feasibility in clinical practice must be taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of cancer research and clinical oncology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Clinical practice
  • Combination therapy
  • Feasibility
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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