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Health-Related Quality of Life With Pembrolizumab for Advanced Urothelial Cancer

By: Joseph Cupolo
Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2018

Patients who were treated with pembrolizumab had stable or improved global health status/quality of life, whereas those who were treated with investigator’s choice of chemotherapy experienced declines in global health status/quality of life, according to further analysis of KEYNOTE-045 by David J. Vaughn, MD, of the Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues. Earlier findings from this phase III trial found that based upon efficacy and safety outcomes, pembrolizumab was superior to standard chemotherapy in patients with platinum-refractory advanced urothelial cancer.  The health-related quality-of-life analysis, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was based upon 519 patients who were randomly assigned pembrolizumab versus docetaxel, paclitaxel, or vinflunine.

The key finding for the investigators was that pembrolizumab significantly prolonged the time to deterioration in global health status/quality-of-life score compared with chemotherapy (3.5 months vs. 2.3 months; hazard ratio of 0.72; P = .004). In addition, among patients who did not experience disease progression, improvements in global health status/quality-of-life scores were observed in those who were treated with pembrolizumab, but scores worsened in patients who were treated with chemotherapy. Of note, the change in functional and symptom domains from baseline to week 15 with pembrolizumab was numerically better than that with chemotherapy.

“These data demonstrate the effectiveness of pembrolizumab in the three major areas that should be considered when selecting an optimal treatment—efficacy, safety, and quality of life,” stated Dr. Vaughn and colleagues.



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