Background: Immune checkpoint-inhibitors (ICIs) are changing outcomes in different cancer settings, notably for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There are, however, still important gaps of evidence for clinical practice when using these novel treatments. In this study, we assessed physicians’ opinion and experience on challenges for clinical practice with ICIs monotherapy in NSCLC. Methods: A survey was conducted on experienced physicians treating patients with NSCLC with ICIs. Two rounds of pilot tests were carried out for validation among a group of experts. Topics under analysis were in relation to treatment of elderly populations, performance status, brain metastases, use of steroids or antibiotics, the effects of gut microbiome, autoimmune diseases, human immunodeficiency virus infection, solid organ transplants, use of anti-programmed cell death protein 1 versus anti-programmed death-ligand 1 drugs, atypical tumour responses, predictors of response, duration of treatment and a final open question on additional relevant challenges. Results: Two hundred and twenty-one answers were collected, including 106 (48%) valid answers from experts for final analysis (physicians who have treated at least 20 patients with NSCLC with ICIs). The vast majority agreed that the selected topics in this study are important challenges ahead and more evidence is needed. Moreover, predictors of response, treating brain metastasis, shorter duration of treatment, the effects of gut microbiome and concomitant use of steroids were voted the most important topics to be further addressed in prospective clinical research. Conclusions: This survey contributed to understanding which are the main challenges for clinical practice with ICIs monotherapy in NSCLC. It can also contribute to guide further clinical research, considering the opinions and experience of those who regularly treat NSCLC patients with ICIs.
- clinical challenges
- immune checkpoint inhibitors