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WCLC 2017: Pemetrexed/Carboplatin Plus Pembrolizumab in Nonsquamous NSCLC

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017

Phase II of the multicohort KEYNOTE-021 trial found that the combination of pemetrexed/carboplatin plus pembrolizumab resulted in a greater clinical benefit than pembrolizumab alone in patients with nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Hossein Borghaei, DO, MS, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, and colleagues reported the combination therapy continues to improve the hazard ratio for overall survival and maintains the benefits in progression-free survival and overall response observed in earlier analyses. These updated results were presented at the 2017 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference on Lung Cancer (Abstract OA 17.01) in Yokohama, Japan.

A total of 123 patients with stage IIIB/IV nonsquamous lung cancer, who had no prior systemic therapy and no EGFT mutation or ALK translocation, were randomized 1:1 to receive pemetrexed/carboplatin plus pembrolizumab or pembrolizumab alone. The combination-therapy group had a higher overall response rate of 57% versus 32%. Progression-free survival was significantly higher in the combination arm versus the stand-alone treatment at 19.0 months and 8.9 months, respectively.

Contributing author, Corey Langer, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, commented on the May 2017 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of this combination therapy in a press release: “This approval marks an important milestone in the treatment of lung cancer. Now, pembrolizumab in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin can be prescribed in the first-line setting for patients with [NSCLC].”