Dr. Halmos on Immunotherapy in Squamous NSCLC

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care</b>

Balazs Halmos, MD, MS, director of thoracic oncology and director of clinical cancer genomics, Montefiore Medical Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy in the treatment of patients with metastatic squamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Balazs Halmos, MD, MS, director of thoracic oncology and director of clinical cancer genomics, Montefiore Medical Center, discusses the use of immunotherapy in the treatment of patients with metastatic squamous non—small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Within the last year, physicians have seen frontline data from the IMpower131 and KEYNOTE-407 trials. IMpower131 looked at the combination of taxane-based doublet chemotherapy plus atezolizumab (Tecentriq). Though the study had shown significant progression-free survival (PFS) benefit, it failed to translate into an overall survival (OS) benefit, says Halmos.

The KEYNOTE-407 study looked at the combination of carboplatin/paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane), plus or minus pembrolizumab (Keytruda). This was followed by maintenance pembrolizumab versus placebo. The addition of pembrolizumab showed a PFS benefit as well as a substantial OS benefit, irrespective of PD-L1 expression, adds Halmos. This translated to an approximately 20% improvement in response rates, changing the frontline standard, concludes Halmos.