Influence of age on the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) represent a paradigm shift in the development of cancer treatment. However, it remains to be clarified whether the benefits that they confer differ according to patient age. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess age differences in the benefits of ICI treatment. Methods: We systematically searched the PubMed database for randomised controlled trials of ICIs, including PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors across multiple cancer types, such as melanoma, lung cancer and gastric cancer. We extracted trials including hazard ratios (HRs) for death stratified by patient age (cut-off age, 65 years). The primary objective of this study was to assess the difference in ICI efficacy between younger and older patients. We calculated pooled HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for younger and older cancer patients, and assessed data heterogeneity. Results: We identified 3999 studies in our search. Of these, 24 eligible randomised trials, including a total of 8157 (57%) younger and 6104 (43%) older cancer patients, fulfilled the criteria for our study and were thus further analysed. The pooled HRs of the younger and older patients were 0.76 (95% CI: 0.69–0.84) and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.71–0.86), respectively; the difference in ICI efficacy between younger and older cancer patients was not significant (p =.82). Regarding the PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors, the survival benefit was similar in both age groups (HR: 0.74; p =.96), whereas for the CTLA-4 inhibitors, there tended to be less survival benefit for older versus younger patients (HR: 0.90 and 0.77, respectively; p =.26). Conclusions: The survival benefit conferred by ICI was not age-dependent, amongst patients aged 65 years or younger. However, age-dependent benefits may vary amongst different types of ICIs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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