The Investigation of Immunotherapy in Lung Cancer

David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the exploration of immunotherapies as treatments for patients with advanced lung cancer.

David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, a professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the exploration of immunotherapies as treatments for patients with advanced lung cancer.

The efficacy of immunotherapy in lung cancer represents the most exciting advancement in this space within the past few years, Carbone states. Prior to this, the greatest advance was next generation sequencing and the discovery of actionable mutations, such asEGFRandALK.

A large majority of patients with lung cancer do not have an immediately actionable mutation. In these patients, immunotherapy may elicit a durable and effective response. Additionally, combinations of immunotherapy and EGFR- or ALK-targeted therapy could further improve outcomes, Carbone believes.

Clinical Pearls

Carbone notes his excitement to potentially expand immunotherapy beyond patients with advanced disease to the frontline setting in combination with erlotinib and crizotinib. As a monotherapy, in current trials, the response rate to immunotherapy appears to be around 20%. Additionally, to date, studies seem to signal that responses might be higher in squamous cell histology compared to adenocarcinoma.

  • The efficacy of immunotherapy in lung cancer represents the most exciting advancement in this space within the past few years
  • Immunotherapy may be effective in a large majority of patients with lung cancer who do not have an immediately actionable mutation
  • Combinations of immunotherapy and EGFR- or ALK-targeted therapy could further improve outcomes
  • Immunotherapy may have utility in the frontline setting in combination with erlotinib and crizotinib
  • In general, the response rate to immunotherapy in lung cancer appears to be around 20%
  • Response to immunotherapy may be higher in squamous cell histology compared to adenocarcinoma