Current evidence indicates that immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have a limited efficacy in patients with lung cancer harboring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. However, there is a lack of data on the efficacy of ICIs after osimertinib treatment, and the predictors of ICI efficacy are unclear.
We retrospectively assessed consecutive patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC who received ICI-based therapy after osimertinib treatment at 10 institutions in Japan, between March 2016 and March 2021. Immunohistochemical staining was used to evaluate the expression of p53 and AXL. The deletions of exon 19 and the exon 21 L858R point mutation in EGFR were defined as common mutations; other mutations were defined as uncommon mutations.
A total of 36 patients with advanced or recurrent EGFR-mutant NSCLC were analyzed. In multivariate analysis, p53 expression in tumors was an independent predictor of PFS after ICI-based therapy (p = 0.002). In patients with common EGFR mutations, high AXL expression was a predictor of shorter PFS and overall survival after ICI-based therapy (log-rank test; p = 0.04 and p = 0.02, respectively).
The levels of p53 in pretreatment tumors may be a predictor of ICI-based therapy outcomes in patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC after osimertinib treatment. High levels of AXL in tumors may also be a predictor of ICI-based therapy outcomes, specifically for patients with common EGFR mutations. Further prospective large-scale investigations on the predictors of ICI efficacy following osimertinib treatment are warranted.

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.