“In a groundbreaking development, results from a recent clinical trial to treat lung cancer show that a novel immunotherapy combination is surprisingly effective at controlling the disease’s progression. The study, published April 4 in the journal The Lancet Oncology, focused on non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common form of lung cancer.”
“A combination of Roche AG’s immunotherapy Tecentriq with two older cancer drugs bested chemotherapy in extending progression-free survival (PFS) among previously untreated patients with squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the Swiss pharma announced March 20.
“Results from the Phase 3 study, known as IMpower 131, could position Tecentriq as the first checkpoint inhibitor to market for first-line treatment of squamous NSCLC, a subset that accounts for 25% to 30%of all NSCLC cases.
“Roche only disclosed topline results for the combination regimen’s effect on PFS. At this point, no benefit in overall survival (OS) between the treatment and control groups was reported, but the study will continue to allow for further observation.”
“Several trials either have been completed or are underway to evaluate new immunotherapeutic targets for patients with melanoma, according to a presenter at HemOnc Today New York.
” ‘When we think about where we’re going with immune therapy, it’s important to realize where we are and where have we been,’ Michael A. Postow, MD, assistant attending physician on the melanoma-sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said during his presentation. ‘What are the targets we have been using, and how do we modify what we know and explore totally new territory to try to improve outcomes?’ ”
“Immunotherapy remains a viable option for pretreated patients with non-small cell lung cancer, but the data are rapidly evolving, according to a presenter at HemOnc Today New York.
” ‘We have come a long way with the development of checkpoint inhibitors, and we have to remember that they became famous and exerted their effect in the chemotherapy-refractory setting first,’ Benjamin Levy, MD, assistant professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University and clinical director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, said during his presentation.”
“Although checkpoint blockade immunotherapies have advanced rapidly in the treatment paradigm for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), interest in developing targeted therapies for this malignancy has remained high. Building on the success of molecularly targeted drugs aimed at relatively small subsets of patients, researchers are increasingly aiming at the MET oncogene.
“During the past several years, interest in MET activity has grown as investigators have considered it both as a biomarker and target for treatment, particularly since the focus on MET exon 14 skipping mutations has led to the development of several second-generation MET inhibitors, according to Balazs Halmos, MD, MS.”
“Recently reported updates from the KEYNOTE-189 and IMpower150 trials demonstrated the powerful impact of adding immunotherapy to treatment regimens for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“In the phase III KEYNOTE-189 study, the combination of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with chemotherapy in the frontline setting improved survival in patients with nonsquamous NSCLC. In this trial, which is the confirmatory trial for the FDA approval of pembrolizumab plus carboplatin/pemetrexed, patients received frontline pembrolizumab or placebo combined with pemetrexed and either cisplatin or carboplatin. The study met the primary endpoints of improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS), though full data have yet to be presented.”
“Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) can help differentiate what is known as pseudoprogression from true progression of disease in patients with melanoma who are treated with programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitors, according to a new study. It also showed that ctDNA could be used as a powerful biomarker to predict long-term outcomes.
” ‘Pseudoprogression, a response that occurs after the initial development of new lesions or an increase in the size of target lesions, occurs in up to 10% of patients treated with PD-1 antibodies,’ wrote study authors led by Jenny H. Lee, MBBS, of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. ‘Confirmation of pseudoprogression requires subsequent imaging, imposing an ongoing challenge.’ ”
“The combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) improved progression-free survival (PFS) compared with chemotherapy in treatment-naïve patients with high tumor mutation burden (TMB) non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), the manufacturer of both immunotherapies, announced the preliminary findings from part 1a of the phase III CheckMate-227 trial in a press release. The company did not report any further data.”
“Some patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who receive immunotherapy and continue therapy after progression have decreased tumor burden, and survival is improved when the therapy is continued as well, according to a new pooled analysis.
“Since the approval of immune therapies for melanoma, concerns have been raised regarding the adequacy of standard RECIST criteria to identify responses and progression. ‘Patients who receive immunotherapy might develop an atypical response pattern, wherein they initially meet conventional response criteria for progressive disease but later have decreases in tumor burden,’ wrote study authors led by Julia A. Beaver, MD, of the US Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland.”