Two weeks ago, we reported that pembrolizumab worked well as first-line treatment for advanced lung cancer patients. Those benefits―which included a 40% reduction in risk of death compared to chemotherapy―led the FDA to grant Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Priority Review to the therapy.
Although the FDA had until December 24 to make a decision, U.S. regulators decided yesterday, two months ahead of schedule, to approve pembrolizumab (Keytruda ®, Merck) as a first-line option for patients with advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). It’s important to note, however, that this approval is for patients whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression (more than half the cells expressed it) and don’t have any mutations in EGFR or ALK. Pembrolizumab is an anti-PD-1 checkpoint antibody that targets the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway and can help keep immune cells active against cancer.
Checkpoint Inhibitors Benefit Lung Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials
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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.
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Rare and ultra-rare cancers affect around 20,000 people in the United States alone, according to Foundation Medicine, Inc. Immunotherapy research in some of the more common cancers and the identification of biomarkers that can predict patient responses is opening this new approach to cancer treatment up to patients whose cancers currently receive little direct attention.
Cancer is not “one-size-fits-all” and neither are its treatments, especially when it comes to immunotherapy. Learn how CRI is helping more people overcome cancer.