Efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with ALK rearrangement

Yuko Oya, Hiroaki Kuroda, Takeo Nakada, Yusuke Takahashi, Noriaki Sakakura, Toyoaki Hida

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is a predictor of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment efficacy. The clinical efficacy of ICIs for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring major mutations, such as EGFR or ALK mutations, is limited. We genotyped 190 patients with advanced lung adenocarcinomas who received nivolumab or pembrolizumab monotherapy, and examined the efficacy in NSCLC patients with or without major mutations. Among the patients enrolled in the genotyping study, 47 patients harbored EGFR mutations, 25 patients had KRAS mutations, 5 patients had a HER2 mutation, 6 patients had a BRAF mutation, and 7 patients had ALK rearrangement. The status of PD-L1 expression was evaluated in 151 patients, and the rate of high PD-L1 expression (≥ 50%) was significantly higher in patients with ALK mutations. The progression-free survival was 0.6 (95% CI: 0.2-2.1) months for ALK-positive patients and 1.8 (95% CI: 1.2-2.1) months for EGFR-positive patients. All patients with ALK rearrangement showed disease progression within three months from the initiation of anti-PD-1 treatment. Our data suggested that ICI treatment was significantly less efficacious in patients with ALK rearrangement than in patients with EGFR mutations, and PD-L1 expression was not a critical biomarker for ICI treatment for patients with one of these mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2623
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01-04-2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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