Dr. Liu on the Potential of Pembrolizumab in SCLC

Stephen Liu, MD
Published: Tuesday, May 07, 2019



Stephen Liu, MD, associate professor of medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, discusses the potential of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC.)

The PD-1 inhibitor appears to be an active drug in patients with SCLC, just like nivolumab (Opdivo) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) are. There are 2 data sets which have explored pembrolizumab in this space. One is KEYNOTE-028, which was a relatively small study looking at PD-L1–positive patients. KEYNOTE-158 was a larger study of all-comers, and it enrolled over 100 patients.

A pooled analysis of these studies indicated that response rates and progression-free survival are low, though the duration of response is impressive. Moving forward, researchers will need to identify effective biomarkers that predict which patients will derive this durable benefit, says Liu. He concludes that since atezolizumab is approved in the frontline setting, pembrolizumab could have a role in the second-line setting.
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Stephen Liu, MD, associate professor of medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, discusses the potential of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC.)

The PD-1 inhibitor appears to be an active drug in patients with SCLC, just like nivolumab (Opdivo) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) are. There are 2 data sets which have explored pembrolizumab in this space. One is KEYNOTE-028, which was a relatively small study looking at PD-L1–positive patients. KEYNOTE-158 was a larger study of all-comers, and it enrolled over 100 patients.

A pooled analysis of these studies indicated that response rates and progression-free survival are low, though the duration of response is impressive. Moving forward, researchers will need to identify effective biomarkers that predict which patients will derive this durable benefit, says Liu. He concludes that since atezolizumab is approved in the frontline setting, pembrolizumab could have a role in the second-line setting.

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Online Medical Crossfire®: 5th Annual Miami Lung Cancer ConferenceMay 30, 20196.5
Community Practice Connections™: Working Group for Changing Standards in EGFR-Mutated Lung Cancers: Real-World Applications of the Evidence for NursesJun 29, 20191.5
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