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Pembrolizumab Improves 5-Year Survival in Advanced NSCLC in KEYNOTE-001

Hussain Borghaei, DO, MS
Published Online:3:57 PM, Wed July 10, 2019

Hussain Borghaei, DO, MS, chief of the Division of Thoracic Medical Oncology, professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology, and co-director of the Immune Monitoring Facility at Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses the significance of the overall survival (OS) data update from the KEYNOTE-001 trial. This trial investigated the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a treatment for patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

According to the findings presented at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, 550 patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC, who were either treatment-naïve or had received prior treatment, were enrolled and received pembrolizumab. These findings showed that 15.5% of patients with advanced NSCLC who had received prior therapy were alive at the 5-year mark; 23.2% of newly diagnosed patients were also alive at 5 years.

The survival rate has been limited for the majority of patients with advanced NSCLC who do not have molecularly driven tumors, Borghaei says. The survival rate seen in the KEYNOTE-001 appears promising for this patient population, which historically has been about 5%.

Investigators at a number of institutions aim to further understand this patient population, the tumor microenvironment, and the mechanisms of resistance to immuno-oncologic agents. Further research is necessary to determine what patients will most likely benefit from this treatment and why some patients respond better than others.
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