Efficacy and Safety of Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy in Patients Aged ≥ 75 Years With Non–small-cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): An Italian, Multicenter, Retrospective Study

Andrea Luciani, Antonio Marra, Luca Toschi, Diego Cortinovis, Sergio Fava, Virginio Filipazzi, Alessandro Tuzi, Giulio Cerea, Sabrina Rossi, Vittorio Perfetti, Antonio Rossi, Laura Giannetta, Luca Sala, Giovanna Finocchiaro, Elio Gregory Pizzutilo, Stephana Carelli, Francesco Agustoni, Massimiliano Cergnul, Sabrina Zonato, Salvatore SienaPaolo Bidoli, Daris Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is predominantly a disease of the elderly population. Over the past few years, immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies named checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) greatly improved the clinical management of a significant proportion of patients with metastatic NSCLC. However, pivotal trials excluded older patients, although, given the favorable clinical profile of ICIs, this treatment may be revealed to be a most valuable option also for these patients. To this aim, a multicenter retrospective analysis was performed on patients aged ≥ 75 years with NSCLC treated with anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunotherapy. Material and Methods: Inclusion criteria were: diagnosis of locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC (stage IIIB or IV, according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) classification system, version 8.0); age ≥ 75 years; treatment with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies in first or subsequent lines of treatment; absence of epidermal growth factor receptor-activating mutations or anaplastic lymphoma kinase and ROS-1 rearrangements. The primary endpoints of the study were the efficacy, in terms of overall response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival, and safety, by means of evaluations of the incidence of immune-related adverse events. Results: Eighty-six patients were considered for the final analysis; 71 (82.6%) were male. The mean age was 78.5 years (range, 75-86 years; SD, 3.12 years). Of the 86 patients, 69 (80.2%) of patients had a performance status of 0 or 1. The overall median progression-free survival was 5.6 months (range 1-36 months; SD, 7.5 months,) whereas the median overall survival was 10.1 months (range, 1.7-34.8 months; SD, 8 months). At the Cox regression analysis, the only parameter significantly associated with survival was the smoking status (P = .008). No difference in survival was found between patients younger and older than 80 years. Conclusions: In the present real-world retrospective cohort, efficacy and toxicity profiles of ICIs in older patients with advanced NSCLC were comparable with those observed in younger patients enrolled in clinical trials. This study was conducted in the setting of advanced non–small-cell lung cancer in older patients. It is a multicenter retrospective analysis on very old persons that explores the efficacy and the safety of anti-programmed cell death protein 1 therapy. Older patients seem to tolerate immunotherapy as well as younger patients with comparable efficacy. This is a relevant message for everyday clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Lung Cancer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Elderly
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • PD-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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