KEYNOTE-062 Highlights Role of Pembrolizumab in Gastric/GEJ Cancer Subtypes

David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, discusses the current role of pembrolizumab in patients with gastric cancer or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma based on the results from the KEYNOTE-062 trial.

David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, an attending physician and professor of medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the current role of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in patients with gastric cancer or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma based on the results of the KEYNOTE-062 trial.

Although PD-L1 is thought to be somewhat of a predictive biomarker in patients with microsatellite stable disease, the response rates were higher in this subset of patients with a combined positive score of 10 or higher, says Ilson. The response rates were even slightly higher in those patients who received pembrolizumab and chemotherapy, but there was no improvement in survival compared with chemotherapy alone.

The problem with upfront pembrolizumab is that a vast majority of the patients will progress and cross over to chemotherapy early on. However, Ilson argues that this is not a fair comparison because virtually all patients that receive pembrolizumab initially will also get chemotherapy within a few months.