Emerging trends and focus on immune checkpoint inhibitors for non-small cell lung cancer treatment: visualization and bibliometric analysis
Introduction: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 80% of all cases. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are widely used to treat NSCLC owing to their remarkable efficacy. In this study, we analyzed the scientific collaboration network, defined the hotspots of research on the use of ICIs for NSCLC treatment, analyzed its evolution over the past few years, and forecasted the field’s future development using bibliometric analysis and a graphical study. Methods: Research articles and reviews regarding ICIs for NSCLC were retrieved and obtained from the Web of Science Core Collection on 26 September 2022. CtieSpace and VOSviewer were thereafter used to conduct the bibliometric and knowledge-map analysis. Results: We included 8,149 articles for this literature analysis. Our analysis showed that the USA had the highest number of publications and citations. We also noted that research trends in this field have changed drastically over the past 20 years, from the early development of ICIs, such as CTLA-4 inhibitors, to the development of recent ones, such as PD-1 and PD-L1 blockers. Further, the focus of research in this field has also gradually shifted from mechanisms to treatment effects and adverse events, suggesting that the field is maturing. Clinical applications are also being explored, including studies on how to enhance efficacy, reduce adverse effects, and expand to other specific cancer types. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to construct a comprehensive knowledge map on ICIs for NSCLC. It can help researchers rapidly grasp the status and focus of current research in this area, offer direction, and serve as a reference for conducting similar studies.