Analysis Shows Patients Treated with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors Have Better Quality of Life

The analysis found that patients’ quality of life did not change significantly over time during treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Patients with cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors have a higher self-reported quality of life than patients treated with other types of therapy, according to an article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors that activate the immune system to target cancer cells have greatly impacted the lives of cancer patients by improving survival and providing an alternative to chemotherapy; however, it is not clear how immune checkpoint inhibitors affect patients’ quality of life, symptoms, and physical functioning, according to the study authors from Moffit Cancer Center. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are approved to treat a variety of solid tumor types and lymphomas by blocking the activity of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and CTLA-4. This class includes the drugs atezolizumab, avelumab, durvalumab, ipilimumab, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab.

Moffit Cancer Center researchers examined an extensive meta-analysis of 26 published studies that analyzed self-reported changes in quality of life, physical functioning, and symptoms among patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. The self-reported outcomes evaluated patients administered immune checkpoint inhibitors before and after treatment compared with patients treated with other therapies.

The analysis found that patients’ quality of life did not change significantly over time during treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. However, quality of life was better among patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors compared to patients treated with other therapies, according to the study. Further, an assessment of specific disease and treatment symptoms showed that patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors reported fewer symptoms of appetite loss, insomnia, and pain severity. The researchers noted that there were differences in the severity of these symptoms based on the varying regimens and tumor types.

The researcher said that they hope these findings will help patients better understand what to expect with checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

“A growing number of patients are receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors and need evidence-based information regarding what to expect on treatment,” said study author Brian D. Gonzalez, PhD, associate member in the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt, in a press release. “This study is among the first to aggregate data about patient-reported outcomes of immunotherapy. These data can be used to reassure patients and their families that most can expect stable or improved global quality of life on average with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors and slight decrements in global quality of life in CTLA-4 inhibitors.”

REFERENCE

Patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors have better quality of life, Moffitt analysis shows. EurekAlert! September 14, 2021. Accessed September 22, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/928359