Dietary Recommendations Could Improve Efficacy of Immune Checkpoint Blockade in NSCLC

By Leah Lawrence - Last Updated: September 27, 2022

A study of the dietary habits of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed that providing nurses with evidence-based dietary recommendations to discuss with patients could be an important strategy to potentially increase immune checkpoint blockade efficacy.

A research nurse and colleagues from Montreal, Canada, assessed the dietary habits of 102 patients with advanced NSCLC being treated with immune checkpoint blockade. The patients completed a food frequency questionnaire that assessed dietary habits and probiotics supplementation.

According to the study abstract presented at the ESMO Congress 2022, “gut microbiota modulates the response to immune checkpoint blockade in various cancers, and diet represents the most natural and non-evasive method to shift its composition.” However, the effect of diet on advanced NSCLC has not been assessed.

The median age of participants was 67 years and median follow-up was 18.6 months.

The researchers noted that another recent study in melanoma suggested that a high dietary fiber intake may improve progression-free survival of patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade. However in these patients with NSCLC, a high-fiber diet did not correlate with an improved progression-free survival. The median progression-free survival for a low-fiber diet was 16.0 months compared with 9.8 months for a high-fiber diet.

The researchers did note that in the melanoma study, the median fiber intake was 20 g per day compared with only 11 g per day in the patients with NSCLC, and that this could explain “the absence of survival benefit.”

In the patients with NSCLC, saturated fatty acids (SFA) intake – mostly from dairy products — correlated with a favorable progression-free survival. Median progression-free survival for low FDA was 9.1 months compared with 17.4 months for high SFA (P=.03).



ESMO Congress 2022 – Abstract CN12 – Impact of Diet on Immune Checkpoint Blockade: Nurse-Directed Dietary Intervention