Dr. Herbst on the Impact of Frontline Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer

Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD
Published: Friday, Jan 06, 2017



Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine, chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, discusses the impact that immunotherapy has had on the frontline treatment of patients with lung cancer.

Lung cancer was once a disease where patients would receive frontline treatment with chemotherapy and not see much benefit at all. Now, patients now being treated with immunotherapy actually have the potential to be cured, Herbst claims.

The problem, however, is that only 1 in 5 patients, possibly less, can reap those benefits. Herbst says it is critical for oncologists and researchers to get together to conduct clinical trials, take the best science from the lab, and see how they can figure out who will benefit from immunotherapy and who will not.

PD-L1 testing should be standard of care, according to Herbst, and patients should also be checked for ALK, EGFR, and ROS1. If they are above the 50% threshold, they should be considered for immunotherapy, especially given that the results thus far have been historical, he says. At Yale Cancer Center, practitioners administer PD-L1 testing in advance to these patients to determine if they are candidates for frontline immunotherapy.



Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine, chief of Medical Oncology, Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, discusses the impact that immunotherapy has had on the frontline treatment of patients with lung cancer.

Lung cancer was once a disease where patients would receive frontline treatment with chemotherapy and not see much benefit at all. Now, patients now being treated with immunotherapy actually have the potential to be cured, Herbst claims.

The problem, however, is that only 1 in 5 patients, possibly less, can reap those benefits. Herbst says it is critical for oncologists and researchers to get together to conduct clinical trials, take the best science from the lab, and see how they can figure out who will benefit from immunotherapy and who will not.

PD-L1 testing should be standard of care, according to Herbst, and patients should also be checked for ALK, EGFR, and ROS1. If they are above the 50% threshold, they should be considered for immunotherapy, especially given that the results thus far have been historical, he says. At Yale Cancer Center, practitioners administer PD-L1 testing in advance to these patients to determine if they are candidates for frontline immunotherapy.




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