Background: The coexistence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in lung cancer patients often correlates with a poor clinical outcome regardless of tumor stage, mainly due to older age, poor lung function, and complex comorbid disease. Emerging data suggest that the pathogenesis of both diseases involves aberrant immune functioning. We conducted this retrospective study to describe the impact of COPD on the clinical outcomes of lung cancer patients treated with immunotherapy and investigate the potential prognostic factors. Methods: In total, 156 patients with advanced-stage lung cancer who received at least one administration of an anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1)/anti-programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) at any treatment line at Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University between May 2018 and December 2019 were enrolled in our study. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed according to the presence of COPD. We also evaluated the prognostic value of circulating cytokine levels for clinical outcome. Results: We found that the presence of COPD (both spirometry-based COPD and physician-defined COPD) was significantly associated with longer PFS (316 vs. 186 days, P=0.018). Moderate and severe COPD tended to have a better impact on the survival of these patients. In the present study, we reported that patients with mixed ventilatory defects tended to have a better OS (P=0.043) and PFS (P=0.18) when treated with ICIs compared to the normal lung function group. We also found that low baseline plasma interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) levels were associated with longer PFS in patients with advanced-stage lung cancer who received ICI treatment. Furthermore, patients who had increased IL-2R levels had significantly poorer OS [hazard ratio (HR) =3.63; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.98–13.44; P=0.040] and PFS (HR =3.241; 95% CI, 1.032–10.18; P=0.035) when treated with ICIs. Nomograms were established based on the independent prognostic factors derived from our final multivariate models. Conclusions: COPD was associated with better survival in advanced-stage lung cancer patients treated with ICIs. Plasma IL-8 and IL-2R levels were potential prognostic factors for clinical outcome. The nomograms represent a possibly useful tool for predicting the clinical outcomes of immunotherapy.
- Advanced lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)
- Interleukin-2R (IL-2R)
- Interleukin-8 (IL-8)
- Mixed ventilatory defect
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