Introduction: In vitro models have demonstrated immune-modulating effects of bevacizumab (BEV). Combinations of an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with BEV improve progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma. How BEV confers this clinical effect and the underlying mechanisms of its effect are not clear. Methods: A total of 55 patients with stage 4 EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma were enrolled. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), type 1 and type 2 helper T cells, and cytotoxic T lymphocytes were analyzed by flow cytometry. Clinical data were collected for analysis. Result: In all, 25 patients received EGFR TKI and BEV combination therapy (the BEV/TKI group) and 30 patients received EGFR TKI monotherapy (the TKI-only group). The BEV/TKI group had longer PFS (23.0 versus 8.6 months [p = 0.001]) and, in particular, better intracranial control rates (80.0% versus 43.0% [p = 0.03]), a longer time to intracranial progression (49.1 versus 12.9 months [p = 0.002]), and fewer new brain metastases (38.0% versus 71.0% [p = 0.03]) than the TKI-only group did. The BEV/TKI group had a lower percentage of circulating MDSCs (20.4% ± 6.5% before treatment versus 12.8% ± 6.6% after treatment, respectively [p = 0.02]), and higher percentages of type 1 helper T cells (22.9% ± 15.3% versus 33.2% ± 15.6% [p < 0.01]) and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (15.5% ± 7.2% versus 21.2% ± 5.6% [p < 0.01]) after treatment, changes that were not seen in the TKI-only group. Pretreatment percentage of MDSCs was correlated with PFS, with this correlation attenuated after BEV/TKI treatment. Percentage of MDSCs was also associated with shorter time to intracranial progression. Conclusion: Combining a EGFR TKI with BEV extended PFS and protected against brain metastasis. Those effects were probably due to the reduction of circulating S100A9-positive MDSCs by BEV, which leads to restoration of effective antitumor immunity. Our data also support the rationale for a BEV–immune checkpoint inhibitor combination.
- Lung cancer
- Myeloid-derived suppressor cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine