ESMO 2016 News in Oncology: Lung Cancer

ESMO 2016. LBA8_PR. KEYNOTE-024: Pembrolizumab (pembro) vs platinum-based chemotherapy (chemo) as first-line therapy for advanced NSCLC with a PD-L1 tumour proportion score (TPS) ≥50%

M. Reck et al.

Results: From Sep 19, 2014, to Oct 29, 2015, 305 pts from 16 countries were randomized: 154 to pembro, 151 to chemo. After a median follow-up of 11.2 mo, 48% of pts remained on pembro, 10% remained on chemo, and 44% crossed over from chemo to pembro upon PD. With 189 events, pembro significantly prolonged PFS over chemo (HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.37-0.68, P < 0.001; median 10.3 mo vs 6.0 mo). With 108 deaths, pembro also significantly prolonged OS (HR 0.60, 95% CI 0.41-0.89, P = 0.005; 6-mo OS 80% vs 72%). Pembro was also associated with higher ORR (45% vs 28%), longer response duration (median NR vs 6.3 mo), and lower incidence of any-grade (73% vs 90%) and grade 3-5 (27% vs 53%) treatment-related AEs. 

Conclusions: Pembro demonstrated superior PFS and OS over platinum-based chemo in pts with advanced NSCLC of PD-L1 TPS ≥50%. Along with the lower rate of treatment-related AEs, these data suggest pembro may be the new standard of care for first-line therapy of PD-L1–expressing advanced NSCLC without treatable oncogenic aberrations.

CARE Faculty Perspective: This is a pivotal trial in the field of lung cancer. Pembrolizumab may become the new standard of care for first line therapy of advanced NSCLC.