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The efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors in elderly patients: a meta-analysis and meta-regression

 C M Kim  ;  J B Lee  ;  S J Shin  ;  J B Ahn  ;  M Lee  ;  H S Kim 
 ESMO OPEN, Vol.7(5) : 100577, 2022-10 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Aged ; Humans ; Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors* / pharmacology ; Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors* / therapeutic use ; Immunologic Factors ; Immunotherapy / methods ; Melanoma* ; Treatment Outcome
age ; immunosenescence ; immunotherapy ; meta-analysis ; meta-regression
Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has improved patient survival in advanced cancers; however, the efficacy of ICIs in elderly patients is still elusive. This study assessed the efficacy of ICIs in elderly patients with advanced cancer in terms of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).

Materials and methods: We carried out a systematic review and identified 30 head-to-head phase II/III randomized controlled trials that compared immunotherapy with the standard of care in advanced solid tumor patients. The data on patients younger or over 65 years of age were indexed from PubMed-Medline, Embase, and Scopus and obtained for meta-analysis. The subgroup analyses were stratified by primary tumor type, line of treatment, or type of immunotherapy, and a meta-regression analysis was carried out after adjusting for all other variables.

Results: The study included 17 476 patients, comprising 58% (10 119) younger (<65 years old) and 42% (7357) elderly (≥65 years old) patients. The hazard ratio (HR) for OS was 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70-0.85] and 0.77 (95% CI 0.70-0.85) in the younger and elderly groups, respectively, suggesting similar efficacies of ICIs in these two age groups. The subgroup analyses revealed no significant relationship between age and treatment outcomes, except for the PFS benefit in younger patients with melanoma than in elderly patients (HR 0.44 in younger patients versus 0.65 in elderly patients, P = 0.04). These results were further supported by meta-regression analysis, which showed no statistically significant difference in OS (P = 0.954) and PFS (P = 0.555) between the two age groups.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that age-associated impairments of the immune system did not affect the efficacy of ICIs in elderly patients compared to younger patients. Therefore, the choice of ICIs for elderly patients can be considered, regardless of chronological age.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Biomedical Systems Informatics (의생명시스템정보학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Internal Medicine (내과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Han Sang(김한상) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6504-9927
Shin, Sang Joon(신상준) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5350-7241
Ahn, Joong Bae(안중배) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6787-1503
Lee, Jii Bum(이기쁨) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5608-3157
Lee, Myeongjee(이명지)
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