Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Cemiplimab-rwlc Monotherapy and PD-L1 Expression in Advanced NSCLC

By: Hope Craig, MSPH
Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021

According to results from the phase III randomized EMPOWER-Lung 1 trial, published in The Lancet, cemiplimab-rwlc monotherapy, compared with chemotherapy, significantly improved overall survival and progression-free survival in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had at least 50% expression of PD-L1 in tumor cells. Ahmet Sezer, MD, of Başkent University, Adana, Turkey, and colleagues suggest this agent as a potential new treatment option for this patient population.

“Cemiplimab was superior to chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC with PD-L1 of at least 50% and without EGFR, ALK, or ROS1 aberrations,” the investigators commented.

This clinical trial was designed to assess the first-line treatment of cemiplimab compared with chemotherapy in patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 in at least 50% of tumor cells. The trial recruited 710 patients from 138 clinics from 24 countries. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either cemiplimab (350 mg administered intravenously every 3 weeks for up to 108 weeks) or standard-of-care platinum-doublet chemotherapy (for 4 to 6 cycles).

The median overall survival was not reached with cemiplimab versus 14.2 months with chemotherapy (P = .0002). A total of 74% of patients crossed over to cemiplimab following disease progression on chemotherapy. In addition, the PD-1 monoclonal antibody reduced the risk of death by 32% in all patients and by 43% among those with PD-L1 expression of at least 50%. Median progression-free survival was 8.2 months with cemiplimab versus 5.7 months with chemotherapy (P < .0001). In terms of toxicity, 28% of patients given cemiplimab experienced grade 3 or 4 treatment-emergent adverse events, compared with 39% of those treated with chemotherapy.

Disclosure: Full authors’ disclosures are available at

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.