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Checkpoint Inhibitors Advance Standard of Care for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Justin F. Gainor, MD
Published Online:10:00 PM, Fri January 3, 2020

Justin F. Gainor, MD, director of the Center for Thoracic Cancers and Targeted Immunotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the latest advancements with immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of patients with non—small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Checkpoint inhibitors have transformed the management of advanced NSCLC, where the agents have been moved to earlier lines in the disease course, Gainor says. The first evidence to demonstrate benefit in this setting, which ultimately launched further evaluation, was the phase III PACIFIC trial. Patients with locally advanced NSCLC who completed the standard of care chemotherapy and radiation went on to receive a checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (Imfinzi), as consolidation therapy. This led to an improvement in both the progression-free survival and overall survival rates.

Overall, results from the PACIFIC trial changed the standard of care for patients with locally advanced NSCLC. Based on the success of this trial, Gainor says checkpoint inhibitors are now being evaluated in patients with stage I, II, and III diseases, and particularly those with resectable disease.
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