Efficacy of Tumor Vaccines and Cellular Immunotherapies in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Floris Dammeijer, Sanne Lievense, Marijn Veerman, Henk Hoogsteden, Joost Hegmans, Lidia Arends, Joachim Aerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose Programmed cell death protein-1-checkpoint blockers have recently been approved as second-line treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Unfortunately, only a subgroup of patients responds and shows long-term survival to these therapies. Tumor vaccines and cellular immunotherapies could synergize with checkpoint blockade, but which of these treatments is most efficacious is unknown. In this meta-analysis, we assessed the efficacy of tumor vaccination and cellular immunotherapy in NSCLC. Methods We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating cellular immunotherapy or vaccines in NSCLC. We used random effects models to analyze overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS), expressed as hazard ratios (HRs), and differences in time (months). The effect of immunotherapy type, disease stage, tumor histology, and concurrent chemotherapy was assessed using subgroup analysis and meta-regression. All procedures were performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Results We identified 18 RCTs that matched our selection criteria; these included a total of 6,756 patients. Immunotherapy extended NSCLC survival and PFS, expressed as HR (OS: HR, 0.81, 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.94, P=.01; PFS: HR, 0.83, 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.95, P=.006) and month difference (OS: difference, 5.43 months, 95% CI, 3.20 to 7.65, P < .005; PFS: difference, 3.24 months, 95% CI, 1.61 to 4.88, P < .005). Cellular therapies outperformed tumor vaccines (OS as HR: P=.005, month difference: P < . 001; PFS as HR: P=.001, month difference: P=.004). There was a benefit of immunotherapy in low-stage compared with high-stage NSCLC and with concurrent administration of chemotherapy only in one of four outcome measures evaluated (PFS in months: P=.01 and PFS as HR: P=.031, respectively). There was no significant effect of tumor histology on survival or PFS. Conclusion Tumor vaccines and cellular immunotherapies enhanced OS and PFS in NSCLC. Cellular immunotherapy was found to be more effective than tumor vaccination. These findings have implications for future studies investigating combination immunotherapy in NSCLC. (C) 2016 by American Society of Clinical Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3204-3212
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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