Reconstruction of unreported subgroup survival data with PD-L1-low expression in advanced/metastatic triple-negative breast cancer using innovative KMSubtraction workflow

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Among patients with advanced/metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with high/positive programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, a superior survival outcome has been demonstrated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). However, it remains unclear whether ICIs are beneficial for patients with low PD-L1 levels. Here, we derived survival data for subgroups with low PD-L1-expressing and conducted a pooled analysis.


After a systematic search of Embase, PubMed, MEDLINE, and CENTRAL from inception until May 18, 2023, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), or duration of response (DOR) for metastatic TNBC treated with ICI-based regimens were included. Kaplan-Meier curves were extracted for the intention-to-treat population and high PD-L1 subgroups. KMSubtraction was used when survival curves were not provided for subgroups with low PD-L1 expression. A pooled analysis of survival data was then conducted.


A total of 3022 patients were included in four RCTs: Impassion130, Impassion131, KEYNOTE-119, and KEYNOTE-355. Unreported low PD-L1-expressing subgroups were identified, including PD-L1 immune cell (IC)<1%, combined positive score (CPS)<1, and 1≤CPS<10. Compared with chemotherapy, ICI-chemotherapy combinations did not significantly differ in OS, PFS, or DOR in the Impassion PD-L1<1%, KEYNOTE-355 PD-L1 CPS<1, and KEYNOTE-355 1≤CPS<10 subgroups. In the KEYNOTE-119 CPS<1 subgroup, the risk of tumor progression was increased with pembrolizumab (HR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.62 to 3.08; p<0.001), as well as in the 1≤CPS<10 subgroup (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.22 to 2.20; p<0.001). A pooled analysis using a scoring system found no significant difference in OS and PFS among the subgroups with an IC of <1% between immunochemotherapy and chemotherapy. OS (HR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.26), PFS (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.10), and DOR were also not significantly different in pooled analysis of first-line trials for those with low PD-L1 expression.


ICI-based regimens are not associated with a survival benefit versus chemotherapy in subgroups of advanced/metastatic TNBC that express low PD-L1 levels.

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