Dr. Raffaele Califano on Immunotherapy in Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Raffaele Califano, MD, consultant in medical oncology at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester, discuses the potential for immunotherapy in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Raffaele Califano, MD, consultant in medical oncology at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester, discuses the potential for immunotherapy in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Several studies have investigated checkpoint inhibitors in SCLC, says Califano. These include the Checkmate 032, which looked at nivolumab either alone or with ipilimumab. The single-agent nivolumab arm demonstrated an 18% response rate, says Califano. The disease-free survival rate was 54% for the combination arm.

Based on this data there are now trials ongoing looking at nivolomab as a second-line treatment in patients with small-cell lung cancer.

The checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab was also investigated in SCLC as a single agent in the Keynote-28 study. In this study, patients were selected based on PD-L1 expression, explains Califano. The overall response rate was 35%, high for this patient population, he says, and the drug was very well tolerated.

A number of other studies looking at pembrolizimab have been launched, which are investigating it as both a single-agent and a maintenance treatment. Immunotherapy offers significant promise for this patient population, which does not have many other treatment options, says Califano.

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