Background: The efficacy of programmed death-1 blockade in epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with different mechanisms of acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is unknown. We retrospectively evaluated nivolumab efficacy and immune-related factors in such patients according to their status for the T790M resistance mutation of EGFR. Patients and methods: We identified 25 patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC who were treated with nivolumab after disease progression during EGFR-TKI treatment (cohort A). Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) density in tumor specimens obtained after acquisition of EGFR-TKI resistance were determined by immunohistochemistry. Whole-exome sequencing of tumor DNA was carried out to identify gene alterations. The relation of T790M status to PD-L1 expression or TIL density was also examined in an independent cohort of 60 patients (cohort B). Results: In cohort A, median progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.1 and 1.3 months for T790M-negative and T790M-positive patients, respectively (P = 0.099; hazard ratio of 0.48 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.20–1.24). Median PFS was 2.1 and 1.3 months for patients with a PD-L1 expression level of ≥1% or <1%, respectively (P = 0.084; hazard ratio of 0.37, 95% confidence interval of 0.10–1.21). PFS tended to increase as the PD-L1 expression level increased with cutoff values of ≥10% and ≥50%. The proportion of tumors with a PD-L1 level of ≥10% or ≥50% was higher among T790M-negative patients than among T790M-positive patients of both cohorts A and B. Nivolumab responders had a significantly higher CD8+ TIL density and nonsynonymous mutation burden. Conclusion: T790M-negative patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC are more likely to benefit from nivolumab after EGFR-TKI treatment, possibly as a result of a higher PD-L1 expression level, than are T790M-positive patients.
- epidermal growth factor receptor
- non-small-cell lung cancer
- tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte
ASJC Scopus subject areas