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Retreatment With Immunotherapy After Toxicity in Lung Cancer Patients

Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

For some patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received anti–programmed cell death protein (PD-1) and anti–programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors, retreatment with immunotherapy may prove to be a safe option, according to the findings of a large retrospective study.

“The take-home message from our series is that retreatment is feasible, but patients need to be selected on a case-by-case basis,” said Fernando C. Santini, MD, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Memorial), New York, in a recent interview with The ASCO Post. Dr. Santini presented these findings at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract 9012).

A total of 482 patients with NSCLC were treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors at Memorial between April 2011 and May 2016. The investigators focused primarily on the 39 patients who had a treatment delay due to an immune-related reaction and were later re-treated with anti–PD-L1 therapy. The main adverse events were pneumonitis, colitis, rash, or hepatitis.

Of the re-treated patients, half of them had no subsequent immune-related adverse event, yet 24% did develop the same immune-related adverse event and 26% developed a different one. Two deaths were reported, although most patients with recurrent or new immune-related adverse events were managed successfully, according to the investigators.