Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Pembrolizumab Plus Chemotherapy for Metastatic Lung Cancer: Quality-of-Life Outcomes

By: Dana A. Elya, MS, RD, CDN
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2020

According to the outcomes from the phase III KEYNOTE-407 study, the addition of pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy is supported as first-line therapy for metastatic squamous non-small-cell lung cancer. In addition, the combination therapy maintained or improved health-related quality-of-life measurements over chemotherapy alone. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was conducted by Julien Mazieres, MD, PhD, of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France, and colleagues.

Researchers randomly assigned patients to receive 4 cycles of pembrolizumab at 200 mg or placebo once every 3 weeks plus carboplatin plus paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel, followed by pembrolizumab or placebo for an additional 31 cycles. During and after therapy, patients were provided with health-related quality-of-life assessments. A total of 554 patients completed at least one of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire-Core 30 and 553 patients completed at least one of the Quality-of-Life Questionnaire-Lung Cancer Module 13.

The global health status/quality-of-life score improved for those who received combination therapy with pembrolizumab. The least squares mean change from baseline to week 9 was 1.8 and it was 4.3 to week 18 compared with the placebo/combination group, where at week 9 it was −1.8 and at week 18, −0.57.

Between-group differences were improved for the pembrolizumab/combination group. The difference in least square mean scores was 3.6 at week 9 and 4.9 at week 18. The average time to deterioration in cough, chest pain, or dyspnea was not reached in either group.

“In this study, addition of pembrolizumab to chemotherapy improved patient-reported outcomes, even in the context of the toxicity typically associated with platinum-taxane therapy,” noted the authors.

Disclosure: The authors’ disclosure information can be found at

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