Introduction: The addition of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) to conventional chemotherapy (CT) as first-line treatment improves survival in extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC). The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the relative efficacy of first-line ICIs compared with CT in patients with ES-SCLC.
Methods: Two independent reviewers extracted relevant data according to PRISMA guidelines and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane Collaboration's risk-of-bias tool. Meta-analysis was conducted using random-effects models to calculate an average effect size for overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and safety outcomes in the overall populations and clinically relevant subgroups.
Results: A literature search of PubMed and Embase was performed. Six randomized controlled clinical trials (IMpower133, CHECKMATE-451, CASPIAN, KEYNOTE-604, and phase II and III ipilimumab plus CT trials) with a total of 3757 patients were included. Compared with CT alone, ICIs plus CT showed a favourable effect on OS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.85; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.79-0.96) and PFS (HR 0.78; 95% CI 0.72-0.83) but a non-significant increase in the risk of experiencing any adverse event (relative risk, 1.05; 95% CI 0.99-1.11). The estimated HR for OS favoured ICI combinations in all planned subgroups according to age (< 65 years/≥ 65 years), sex (men/women), and ECOG performance status (0/1). Analysis by specific ICI revealed significant improvements in OS only for atezolizumab + CT (HR 1.36; 95% CI 1.09-1.69) and durvalumab + CT (HR 1.35; 95% CI 1.12-1.62) compared with CT alone.
Conclusion: Combining anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 antibodies with platinum/etoposide is a superior therapeutic approach compared to CT alone for the first-line treatment of patients with ES-SCLC.
Keywords: Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies; Chemotherapy; Immunotherapy; Meta-analysis; Small cell lung carcinoma.
© 2022. The Author(s).