Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) improve survival in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Clinical trials examining the efficacy of ICIs in patients with NSCLC excluded patients with untreated brain metastases (BMs). As stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is commonly employed for NSCLC-BMs, the authors sought to define the safety and radiological and clinical outcomes for patients with NSCLC-BMs treated with concurrent ICI and SRS.
A retrospective matched cohort study was performed on patients who had undergone SRS for one or more NSCLC-derived BMs. Two matched cohorts were identified: one that received ICI before or after SRS within a 3-month period (concurrent ICI) and one that did not (ICI naive). Locoregional tumor control, peritumoral edema, and central nervous system (CNS) adverse events were compared between the two cohorts.
Seventeen patients (45 BMs) and 34 patients (92 BMs) composed the concurrent-ICI and ICI-naive cohorts, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in overall survival (HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.39–2.52, p = 0.99) or CNS progression-free survival (HR 2.18, 95% CI 0.72–6.62, p = 0.11) between the two groups. Similarly, the 12-month local tumor control rate was 84.9% for tumors in the concurrent-ICI cohort versus 76.3% for tumors in the ICI-naive cohort (p = 0.94). Further analysis did reveal that patients receiving concurrent ICI had increased rates of CNS complete response for BMs treated with SRS (8/16 [50%] vs 5/32 [15.6%], p = 0.012) per the Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) criteria. There was also a shorter median time to BM regression in the concurrent-ICI cohort (2.5 vs 3.1 months, p < 0.0001). There was no increased rate of radiation necrosis or intratumoral hemorrhage in the patients receiving concurrent ICI (5.9% vs 2.9% in ICI-naive cohort, p = 0.99). There was no significant difference in the rate of peritumoral edema progression between the two groups (concurrent ICI: 11.1%, ICI naive: 21.7%, p = 0.162).
The concurrent use of ICI and SRS to treat NSCLC-BM was well tolerated while providing more rapid BM regression. Concurrent ICI did not increase peritumoral edema or rates of radiation necrosis. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether combined ICI and SRS improves progression-free survival and overall survival for patients with metastatic NSCLC.