Dr. Wakelee on Immunotherapy Versus Targeted Agents in NSCLC

Heather Wakelee, MD
Published: Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016


Heather A. Wakelee, MD, associate professor of Medicine (Oncology), Stanford University Medical Center, discusses how immunotherapy agents compare with targeted therapies in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who harbor a targetable mutation.

Data suggest that tumor mutational burden may be a potential biomarker to determine response to immunotherapy, Wakelee explains. However, it is unlikely that immunotherapy will be a first-line choice for patients with targetable mutations. Chemotherapy should also still be considered in this population, she adds.

Additionally, combination trials are showing early promise, Wakelee adds. One clinical trial of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus carboplatin and pemetrexed demonstrated an overall response rate of nearly 70% and similar results were seen in a trial with atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus pemetrexed and carboplatin. Further research will help determine what role immunotherapy will have in these patients.
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Heather A. Wakelee, MD, associate professor of Medicine (Oncology), Stanford University Medical Center, discusses how immunotherapy agents compare with targeted therapies in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who harbor a targetable mutation.

Data suggest that tumor mutational burden may be a potential biomarker to determine response to immunotherapy, Wakelee explains. However, it is unlikely that immunotherapy will be a first-line choice for patients with targetable mutations. Chemotherapy should also still be considered in this population, she adds.

Additionally, combination trials are showing early promise, Wakelee adds. One clinical trial of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus carboplatin and pemetrexed demonstrated an overall response rate of nearly 70% and similar results were seen in a trial with atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus pemetrexed and carboplatin. Further research will help determine what role immunotherapy will have in these patients.

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Year in Review™: Reflecting on Recent Evidence With an Eye to the Future of Lung Cancer ManagementMar 30, 20191.5
Online Medical Crossfire®: 5th Annual Miami Lung Cancer ConferenceMay 30, 20196.5
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