Immunotherapy could be the new standard of care in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The novel immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) and Opdivo (nivolumab) are already standard of care for advanced NSCLC.1 A recently published study has demonstrated that patients with earlier stage III, locally advanced NSCLC may benefit from anther checkpoint inhibitor Imfinzi (durvalumab) in this hard-to-treat population.2
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. In the United States, NSCLC accounts for 75–80% of all lung cancers. Although progress has been made in recent years, the majority of patients with advanced stage lung cancer still die from their disease. New treatments are needed. Precision medicine continues to impact the lives of lung cancer patients with research into genomics and genetics leading to unprecedented progress in improving outcomes. Tailored treatments have emerged to match a person’s genetic makeup or a tumor’s genetic profile. As a result, patients with lung cancer now typically receive molecular testing that guides their physicians in determining which therapies are more likely to boost the chances of survival while limiting the potential for adverse effects. Results from studies evaluating immunomodulatory approaches using anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies have demonstrated promising results and are advancing the standard of care for lung cancer.
One third of patients with NSCLC present with stage III, locally advanced disease, which is often unable to be removed by surgery. The current standard of care for these patients is platinum-based chemotherapy and concurrent radiotherapy.
Results from the recently published PACIFIC study, show that giving Imfinzi after chemoradiotherapy doubled the period of survival without cancer progression. The study authors observed “PD-L1 inhibition after chemoradiation appears to be a new option for patients with locally advanced, unresectable stage III lung cancer. It will be important to see the impact on overall survival after a longer follow-up.”
The clinical study involved 713 adult patients with stage III, locally advanced, unresectable NSCLC who had progressed after two or more cycles of platinum-based chemoradiotherapy. Half these patients were treated with Imfinzi and compared. Time to cancer progression was16.8 months compared to 5.5 months for those not treated with Imfinzi. Benefits were seen across all subgroups, including both patients with PD-L1-positive tumors and those with tumors negative for the marker.
- European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress: Abstract LBA1_PR. Presented September 9, 2017.
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