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KEYNOTE-001: Radiotherapy Combined With Pembrolizumab in Advanced Lung Cancer

Posted: Friday, September 8, 2017

Investigators from a recently published secondary analysis based upon the KEYNOTE-001 phase I trial suggest that treatment with radiotherapy combined with pembrolizumab resulted in longer progression-free survival in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The results, which were published in The Lancet Oncology, also indicated an increase in overall survival.

“Anti–programmed cell death protein 1 [PD-1] therapy is promising in lung cancer, but only 20% of patients respond,” stated study author Percy Lee, MD, of the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA Medical Center, in an interview. “Radiotherapy appears to be a promising agent in combination with immunotherapy to enhance the response rate and clinical benefit for these patients.”

A total of 97 patients with advanced NSCLC were administered pembrolizumab. Of the patients, 43% had previously received some form of radiotherapy, 39% were treated with extracranial radiotherapy, and 25% were treated with thoracic radiotherapy.

Progression-free survival with pembrolizumab was longer in patients who previously received radiotherapy than in patients who did not receive radiotherapy (median 4.4 vs. 2.1 months). In addition, overall survival was longer in patients who previously received any form of radiotherapy than in patients who did not receive previous radiotherapy (median 11.6 vs. 5.3 months).