Pretreatment clinical and hematologic prognostic factors of metastatic urothelial carcinoma treated with pembrolizumab: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Takafumi Yanagisawa, Keiichiro Mori, Satoshi Katayama, Hadi Mostafaei, Fahad Quhal, Ekaterina Laukhtina, Pawel Rajwa, Reza Sari Motlagh, Abdulmajeed Aydh, Frederik König, Nico C. Grossmann, Benjamin Pradere, Jun Miki, Takahiro Kimura, Shin Egawa, Shahrokh F. Shariat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pembrolizumab is the standard for the first and second lines in treating metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC). This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the value of pretreatment clinical characteristics and hematologic biomarkers for prognosticating response to pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic UC. PUBMED®, Web of Science™, and Scopus® databases were searched for articles published before May 2021 according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses) statement. Studies were deemed eligible if they evaluated overall survival (OS) in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma treated with pembrolizumab and pretreatment clinical characteristics or laboratory examination. Overall, 13 studies comprising 1311 patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. Several pretreatment patients’ demographics and hematologic biomarkers were significantly associated with worse OS as follows: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG-PS) ≥ 2 (Pooled hazard ratio [HR]: 3.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.57–4.09), presence of visceral metastasis (Pooled HR: 1.84, 95% CI 1.42–2.38), presence of liver metastasis (Pooled HR: 4.23, 95% CI 2.18–8.20), higher neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR) (Pooled HR: 1.29, 95% CI 1.07–1.55) and, higher c-reactive protein (CRP) (Pooled HR: 2.49, 95% CI 1.52–4.07). Metastatic UC patients with poor PS, liver metastasis, higher pretreatment NLR and/or CRP have a worse survival despite pembrolizumab treatment. These findings might help to guide the prognostic tools for clinical decision-making; however, they should be interpreted carefully, owing to limitations regarding the retrospective nature of primary data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Metastatic urothelial carcinoma
  • Pembrolizumab
  • Prognostic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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