CancerLinq Data Reveals Some Lung Cancer Patients with Autoimmune Disorder May benefit from Checkpoint Inhibitors

Jun 7, 2019 | Autoimmune Disease, Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors, Lung Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer


Immune checkpoint inhibitors are associated with lung cancer survival regardless of whether the patient has an autoimmune disorder or not—active autoimmune disease may be associated with higher rates of some adverse events.

Researchers sought out to better understand the connection between non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and autoimmune disease.  The team, including ASCO expert David Graham of the Levine Cancer Institute, Charlotte, North Carolina, retrospectively analyzed data from ASCO’s CancerLinQ database.  2,425 advanced NSCLC patients with at least one dose of immune checkpoint inhibitor in two or more visits were included in the analysis.  As reported in the Cancer Network, patients were considered to have an active autoimmune disease if the researchers found evidence of a condition in the year prior to initiating immune checkpoint inhibitors, based on ICD-9/ICD-10 codes or use of therapies like systemic steroids.


Immune checkpoint inhibitors are associated with similar survival outcomes among patients with advanced NSCLC (lung cancer), regardless of patient’s history of autoimmune disorders.  Note these patients are typically excluded from clinical trials.

Overall adverse event frequency was similar between the two groups, however, a secondary analysis uncovered higher rates of some adverse events in some lung cancer patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors with active autoimmune disease—suggesting the use of caution in this group

Investigator Comments

Lead researcher David Graham Comments told Cancer Network “Given the mechanism of action, we have worried that we could cause more difficulties for patents with autoimmune disorders than the benefits they would obtain. These data give credence that a population of patients with lung cancer and a history of autoimmune disorders may be able to receive the important benefits of immunotherapy. In the end, short of situations like active Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel disease, we can consider these candidates for these important therapies.” Graham cautioned that if patients do have active autoimmune disorders (e.g. situations where they are on corticosteroid therapy) then immunotherapy should be avoided.

Follow the link below to Cancer Network for more study details.

Lead Research/Investigator

David Graham 


Pin It on Pinterest