Sukhmani Padda, MD
Immunotherapy agents, both as monotherapy and in combination, are emerging in the pipeline of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and could end up competing as frontline treatment for patients, explains Sukhmani Padda, MD.
to discuss the status of ongoing trials participating in this race to the frontline in lung cancer.
OncLive: What are the latest developments in immunotherapy in the frontline setting in lung cancer?
: It’s been a really exciting time in lung cancer because we finally have something for patients who don’t have a molecular driver mutation, other than chemotherapy. Just last year, pembrolizumab, which is a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, was approved for a subgroup of patients with NSCLC. We should go through the eligibility because it’s really important: these are patients who have no evidence of EGFR
mutations in their tumor or ALK
rearrangements, and a high level of PD-L1 expression, which was defined as ≥50%.
In that specific population, looking at a primary endpoint of progression-free survival [PFS], pembrolizumab beat chemotherapy with a hazard ratio of 0.5. That was a really nice development, as it is nice to have something else to offer our patients with lung cancer.
Are there any other immunotherapy-based regimens in the pipeline that are promising?
As you can imagine, there is a lot of excitement right now around immunotherapy. Essentially, every permutation and combination you can imagine is being tested. We know that there are a variety of PD-1 and PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, there are also many other checkpoint inhibitors, and even checkpoint agonists, that are all being targeted. We’ll have to see who, in the end, wins the race.
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