Oncologist. 2020 Oct 12. doi: 10.1002/onco.13561. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: As indications for immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy have increased in recent years, so has the proportion of patients eligible for this type of therapy. However, a lack of data exists about the risks and benefits of ICI therapy in hospitalized patients, who tend to be frailer and sicker than patients enrolled in clinical trials.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among hospitalized patients with metastatic solid tumors who received ICI therapy at a large academic cancer center over the course of 4 years. We analyzed the characteristics and outcomes of these patients and identified demographic and clinical factors that could be used to predict mortality.
RESULTS: During the 4-year study period, 106 patients were treated with ICI therapy while admitted to the hospital; seventy (66%) had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status ≥2, which would have prevented them from enrolling in most clinical trials of ICIs. Fifty-two patients (49%) died either during admission or within 30 days of discharge; median overall survival was 1.0 month from discharge, and 16 patients (15%) were alive 6 months after discharge. Independent predictors of death following receipt of inpatient ICI included a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer relative to melanoma and prior treatment with two or more lines of therapy.
CONCLUSION: The poor overall outcomes observed in this study may give clinicians pause when considering ICI therapy for hospitalized patients, particularly those with characteristics that are associated with a greater risk of mortality.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Immunotherapy strategies for cancer patients are rapidly evolving and their use is expanding, but not all patients will develop a response, and secondary toxicity can be significant and challenging. This is especially evident on hospitalized patients, where the economic cost derived from inpatient ICI administration is important and the clinical benefit is sometimes unclear. The poor overall outcomes evidenced in the ICI inpatient population in our study show the need to better identify the patients that will respond to these therapies, which will also help to decrease the financial burden imposed by these highly priced therapies.