Background: A significant proportion of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients present with poor performance status (PS) at baseline are almost always excluded from the clinical trials leading to availability of only limited data in this subgroup.
Patients and methods: This was an observational single institutional study. The eligibility criteria for inclusion were a histologic or cytologic diagnosis of advanced NSCLC and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group PS 3 or 4. All patients coming between June 2015 and December 2018 were evaluated for inclusion in this study.
Results: A total of 245 patients were enrolled in the study. The median age of the patients was 63 years (range 25–89), 142 (58%) were male, 196 (80%) had adenocarcinoma histology and 192 (78.4%) has PS 3 while rest (21.6%) had PS 4. Out of 245 patients, 192 (78.4%) received oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) and supportive care, 45 (18.4%) received supportive care alone, while 8 (3.2%) patients received chemotherapy along with supportive care. Median overall survival (OS) was 3 months (95% CI: 1.8–4.2) in patients who received oral TKI versus 1 month (1.0–2.9) in patients who received supportive care alone (log-rank p = 0.013). The median OS for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant patients who received oral TKI was 12 months (95% CI: 7.7–16.3), while it was 3 months (95% CI: 1.5–4.5) for patients who were EGFR wild-type and received TKI on compassionate basis (HR = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.32–0.77; p = 0.001).
Conclusions: The use of oral TKI on a compassionate basis led to improvement in survival in the overall cohort of the patients; this was principally driven by EGFR-mutated patients.