Dr. Halmos on Checkpoint Inhibitors in Lung Cancer
Balazs Halmos, MD, section chief of Thoracic Oncology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, discusses the variety of immune checkpoint inhibitors that are currently being explored as treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Currently, Halmos is involved in the investigation of the PD-1 inhibitor MK-3475. In addition to this agent, several other therapies are being explored in NSCLC that target immune checkpoints, including the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab and the PD-L1 inhibitor MPDL3280A. These agents have been explored primarily in phase I studies. As a result, it remains unclear whether targeting PD-1 or PD-L1 is superior.
When exploring these agents, it is essential to look at the levels of pneumonitis and other side effects to determine the best approach. At this point, it appears that PD-L1 inhibition could result in fewer side effects, like pneumonitis, Halmos believes. Future research in this space will focus on patient selection, minimizing toxicities, and which class of agents is the most effective.