Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

ESMO 2020: Pembrolizumab Versus Docetaxel in Subgroup of Patients With NSCLC

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Friday, October 16, 2020

According to research from the KEYNOTE-033 trial, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 (Abstract 1262P), pembrolizumab therapy may result in improved overall response rates in patients with non–small cell lung cancer who have a PD-L1 Tumor Proportion Score (TPS) of at least 1%. Caicun Zhou, MD, PhD, of Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, and colleagues also found that pembrolizumab therapy may support improved overall and progression-free survival in this patient subgroup. However, it did not result in statistically significant overall survival.

The phase III study included 425 patients, most of whom were from mainland China, who were randomly assigned to receive either 2 mg/kg of pembrolizumab or 75 mg/m2 of docetaxel every 3 weeks for 35 cycles. Patients were organized into two groups: those with a PD-L1 TPS between 1% and 49% and those with a least 50% score. At a median follow-up of 18.8 months, pembrolizumab resulted in numerically improved overall survival in both TPS groups. However, it did not lead to statistically significant improved overall survival in the TPS ≥ 50% group.

Among patients with a TPS of at least 1% (n = 311), the hazard ratio for overall survival was 0.68 (95% confidence interval = 0.51–0.89). Across both TPS groups, patients who received pembrolizumab experienced a lower incidence of treatment-related adverse events than did patients who received docetaxel (any grade, 70% vs. 80%; grade 3–5, 11% vs. 47%). At the time of data cutoff, 291 patients (68%) had died.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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