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Quality-of-Life Data From KEYNOTE-024: First-Line Pembrolizumab vs Chemotherapy in Advanced NSCLC

At the 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer, Julie Renee Brahmer, MD, reported new data from the randomized phase III KEYNOTE-024 trial, demonstrating that pembrolizumab yielded better health-related quality of life than platinum-based chemotherapy when used as first-line therapy for advanced NSCLC.

After 15 weeks of treatment, changes in scores on the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality-of-life questionnaire (QLQ-C30) differed by 7.8 points in favor of pembrolizumab. Although this may seem like a modest difference, Dr. Brahmer explained, according to some publications, a 4-point difference may be considered as clinically significant.

The pembrolizumab group also had a one-third lower risk of deterioration in the symptoms of cough, chest pain, and dyspnea when compared with the chemotherapy group.

At week 15, the pembrolizumab group had a more favorable change in QLQ-C30 global health status score (+6.9 vs –0.9 points, P = .002) and a one-third lower risk of deterioration in the QLQ-LC13 (supplemental 13-item lung cancer module) composite of cough, chest pain, and dyspnea (hazard ratio = 0.66; P = .029). Pembrolizumab-treated patients also had more favorable changes in scores on individual QLQ-C30 scales for functioning and symptoms and in QLQ-LC13 scores for specific symptoms.