J Thorac Oncol 2019 Feb 16
Outcome of Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Brain Metastases Treated with Checkpoint Inhibitors.   
Although frequent in NSCLC, patients with brain metastases (BMs) are often excluded from immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) trials. We evaluated BM outcome in a less-selected NSCLC cohort.
Data from consecutive patients with advanced ICI-treated NSCLC were collected. Active BMs were defined as new and/or growing lesions without any subsequent local treatment before the start of ICI treatment. Objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival, and overall survival (OS) were evaluated. Multivariate analyses were performed by using a Cox proportional hazards model and logistic regression.
A total of 1025 patients were included; the median follow-up time from start of ICI treatment was 15.8 months. Of these patients, 255 (24.9%) had BMs (39.2% active, 14.3% symptomatic, and 27.4% being treated with steroids). Disease-specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (ds-GPA) score was known for 94.5% of patients (35.7% with a score of 0-1, 58.5% with a score of 1.5-2.5, and 5.8% with a score of 3). The ORRs with BM versus without BM were similar: 20.6% (with BM) versus 22.7% (without BM) (p = 0.484). The intracranial ORR (active BM with follow-up brain imaging [n = 73]) was 27.3%. The median progression-free survival times were 1.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5-2.1) and 2.1 (95% CI: 1.9-2.5) months, respectively (p = 0.009). Of the patients with BMs, 12.7% had a dissociated cranial-extracranial response and two (0.8%) had brain pseudoprogression. Brain progression occurred more in active BM than in stable BM (54.2% versus 30% [p < 0.001]). The median OS times were 8.6 months (95% CI: 6.8-12.0) with BM and 11.4 months (95% CI: 8.6-13.8) months with no BM (p = 0.035). In the BM subgroup multivariate analysis, corticosteroid use (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.37) was associated with poorer OS, whereas stable BMs (HR = 0.62) and higher ds-GPA classification (HR = 0.48-0.52) were associated with improved OS.
In multivariate analysis BMs are not associated with a poorer survival in patients with ICI-treated NSCLC. Stable patients with BM without baseline corticosteroids and a good ds-GPA classification have the best prognosis.

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