AIM: This analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety of nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, in elderly patients with stage IIIB or IV squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) enrolled in the expanded access programme (EAP) in Italy.
METHODS: Nivolumab was available on physician request. Safety data included adverse events (AEs). Efficacy data included investigator-assessed tumour response, progression date and survival information. Results were analysed for patients aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and for the overall population.
RESULTS: A total of 371 patients with squamous NSCLC were enrolled at 96 centres between April 2015 and September 2015; 34% (n = 126), 47% (n = 175) and 19% (n = 70) were aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years, respectively. Efficacy was similar among patients aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and the overall population (objective response rates: 18%, 18%, 19% and 18%, respectively; disease control rates: 49%, 47%, 43% and 47%, respectively). Median overall survival was reduced in patients aged ≥75 years (5.8 months) versus patients aged <65; years (8.6 months), patients aged 65-<75 years (8.0 months) and the overall population (7.9 months). The incidence of grade 3-4 treatment-related AEs was low in patients aged 65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and the overall population (3%, 9%, 3%, 6%, respectively). Discontinuation rates due to treatment-related AEs were low irrespective of age (4-5%).
CONCLUSIONS: These EAP results suggest that elderly patients with advanced squamous NSCLC benefit from nivolumab, with tolerability similar to that in the overall population.