Immuno-Chemotherapy Combo Extends Lung Cancer Victim's Survival Period

Immunotherapies impress in key lung cancer trials

In one, scientists at New York University conducted a study involving more than 600 patients with advanced lung cancer.

Another study found that an immunotherapy combo - the Bristol-Myers Squibb drugs Opdivo and Yervoy - worked better than chemo for delaying the time until cancer worsened in advanced lung cancer patients whose tumors have many gene flaws, as almost half do.

A Johns Hopkins University study also found patients treated with Opdivo were less likely to have their cancer progress after one year. They remove a cloak that some cancer cells have that hides them from the immune system. In that group, survival without worsening of disease was 43 percent after one year for those on the immunotherapy drugs versus 13 percent of those on chemo.

The combined use of standard chemotherapy with pembrolizumab was "superior in terms of response - keeping people alive without progression of their cancer - and improving the overall survival of patients with metastatic lung cancer compared to chemotherapy alone", said Gandhi.

Pembrolizumab, sold under the brand name Keytruda, is an FDA-approved drug sold by a subsidiary of Merck & Company, Inc. that sponsored this study.

They cost more than $100,000 a year, can have serious side effects and help only some patients, generally fewer than half.

The estimated survival after a year was 69 per cent in those taking the immunotherapy drugs compared to 49 per cent who only had chemotherapy.

Cancer patients should be given immunotherapy as the first line of treatment following the results of "game-changing" trials, charities say. According to the recently obtained finings, the medical experts suggest a new way to be used in treating lung cancer. Roughly 20% of patients see their tumors respond when they get chemotherapy before surgery; in this study, among patients who received Opdivo instead, 45% of tumors had regressed and in three patients there was no remaining tumor at all, Forde said. I lead the Yale lung team.

Most patients stay on the drugs for two years, he said. By killing some tumor cells, chemotherapy could pop open the bags, release the contents and help immune cells — unleashed by the checkpoint drugs — to identify their prey.

All of these immune therapy treatments worked for only about half of patients, but that's far better than chemo has done in the past.

And for those with neither a lot of mutations nor a lot of immune cells, chemotherapy plus Keytruda seems to be the best choice, he said.

For non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients, median survival with chemotherapy alone is somewhere around 11 or 12 months, he said.

Related:

Comments


Other news