Nearly 4 Years Later, Pembrolizumab Plus CRT Shows Staying Power


Salma Jabbour, MD, discusses the implications of a 4-year follow-up of the KEYNOTE-799 study of pembrolizumab and chemoradiotherapy in stage III non–small cell lung cancer.

Findings from a 4-year follow-up of the KEYNOTE-799 trial (NCT03631784) were presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The study looked at patients with previously untreated stage III non–small cell lung cancer who were given pembrolizumab (Keytruda) along with chemoradiation therapy (CRT).

Earlier findings showed pembrolizumab and CRT to be effective. This 4-year update confirms those results, with over 70% of patients responding well to the treatment in both squamous and nonsquamous cancers. Importantly, adverse effects were manageable.

The study also looked at a new approach: measuring circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood. About half the patients had ctDNA measurable at the start of treatment. Those who cleared ctDNA after treatment (around 70%) seemed to have a better outcome.

Overall, this study suggests pembrolizumab and CRT remain a promising option for this type of lung cancer, and ctDNA may be a useful tool to monitor treatment effectiveness.

Here, Salma Jabbour, MD, associate director for Faculty Affairs and Development, vice chair of Clinical Research & Faculty Development, and clinical chief of Radiation Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute, discusses the implications of these findings presented at ASCO.


0:05 | It's very exciting. This is still very exciting space that requires additional study. We're waiting on multiple phase three studies to read out particularly KEYLYNK-012 [NCT04380636] which asks a similar question in terms of the regimen that was used in KEYNOTE-799 which was 1 cycle of induction chemoimmunotherapy followed by concurrent chemoimmunotherapy and radiation followed by maintenance pembrolizumab compared to the standard PACIFIC [NCT02125461] regimen, which is chemoradiation followed by durvalumab [Imfinzi].

0:38 | And so in KEYLYNK-012, we're waiting for that to read out, that will provide information about whether this regimen of chemoimmuno radiation therapy is more effective or not compared to the standard PACIFIC regimen. And so that's that's where we are right now. We're anxiously awaiting these results and to see to see if we can further improve results for this cohort of stage III non–small cell lung cancer patients who are locally advanced unresectable.

Transcription created with AI and edited for clarity.

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