Jason J. Luke, MD, FACP
At the 2015 annual meeting for ASCO we witnessed an extraordinary explosion into the general oncology consciousness of the Programmed Death-1: Programmed Death Ligand-1 (PD-1:PD-L1) axis and drugs that target that interaction. These drugs have changed the field of melanoma over the past few years, but at ASCO the presentations highlighted advances in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), urothelial and renal cancers, mismatch repair (MMR) colon cancer and hepatocellular cancer, head and neck cancers as well as triple negative breast cancer. In fact, clinical trial results were presented that will immediately change the standard of care in NSCLC with the anti-PD-1 antibody nivolumab1
and possibly in melanoma with the combination of nivolumab with the anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA4) antibody ipilimumab.2
Beyond that however, pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1), atezolizumab (formerly MPDL3280a, anti-PD-L1), and durvalumab (formerly MEDI-4736, anti-PD-L1) with and without tremelimumab (anti-CTLA4) all demonstrated groundbreaking results in various tumors. Each of these agents is on a rapid track to approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
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