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Pembrolizumab Increases Historic Survival Rate for Certain People with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

(2019 ASCO) June 1, 2019 – Five-year data from the phase Ib KEYNOTE-001 clinical trial show that pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was safe and effective and substantially increased overall survival for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC). Specifically, 23.2% of people who had not previously been treated with chemotherapy and 15.5% of previously-treated patients were alive after five years, with the greatest benefit observed in patients with higher PD-L1 expression. This represents a marked improvement over 5-year survival rates from the pre-immunotherapy era, which averaged 5.5% for aNSCLC. This is the longest follow-up study to date of people with aNSCLC treated with pembrolizumab, according to the researchers.

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: June 05, 2019)

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While in keeping with what we see informally in our clinics, these documented results from primarily previously treated patients a trial setting highlight the amazing advance that PD1/PD-L1 directed immunotherapy represents in NSCLC. We are seeing a significant minority of our patients alive 5 years out from starting a salvage therapy, and even 25% of patients with high tumor PD-L1 (50% or higher); many are without evidence of active disease. It is truly remarkable, though the fact that there are clear differences based on PD-L1 expression highlight that there are still some patients who are much more or less likely to be major beneficiaries.

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Prostate Cancer
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Tomasz M. Beer, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Medical O...

Community Oncology
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Dean Gesme, MD

FACP FACPE FASCO President, Minnesota Oncology...

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Debu Tripathy, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncol...

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H. Jack West, MD

Associate Clinical Professor, Medical Oncology Executi...

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Howard S. Hochster, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Woo...

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Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO

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Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP

Steven Spielberg Family Chair in Hematology Oncology P...

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Stephen M. Schleicher, M.D., MBA

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National Health Policy Expert...