Immunotherapy Opens Doors in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Christina T. Loguidice
Published: Sunday, Feb 02, 2020
Naiyer A. Rizvi, MD

Naiyer A. Rizvi, MD

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have yielded modest improvement in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), but have already reshaped the management of this tumor type and helped open the door to the exploration of other, potentially more effective treatment approaches, according to a panel of thoracic oncology experts who discussed the treatment horizon for SCLC in a recent OncLive Peer Exchange® panel.

“Unlike where we were a decade ago, where this was a complete desert and nobody was interested, SCLC is now becoming more interesting to both investigators as well as pharmaceutical sponsors, said panelist Taofeek K. Owonikoko, MD, PhD, MSCR, a prolific investigator in SCLC, a highly aggressive disease associated with a heavy symptomatic burden and a dismal 5-year survival rate, ranging from 2.8% for extensive-stage (ES) disease to <28% for limited-stage (LS) disease.1

The OncLive Peer Exchange® panel discussed immunotherapy approaches across the SCLC spectrum. They discussed the practice- changing IMpower133 trial (NCT02763579), which led to the first ICI being approved in the firstline setting, as well as the CASPIAN trial (NCT03043872), which is lending further support to using ICI therapy up front.2,3 They also discussed several ICI therapies approved in the relapsed/refractory ES setting and what the results of 2 recent negative trials might mean for clinical care. Because immunotherapy benefits have been modest across the board, other novel agents are under active investigation, and the panelists discussed a few such emerging therapies as well as ongoing clinical trials that are poised to further shape SCLC management. “I’m hopeful that all these strategies will lead us forward and eventually result in new treatment options for our patients,” Owonikoko said.

IMpower133 and CASPIAN

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