“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta) and platinum as first-line treatment of patients with metastatic, nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.
“Pembrolizumab was previously granted accelerated approval for this indication in May 2017 based on improvements in overall response rate and progression-free survival for patients randomized to pembrolizumab administered with pemetrexed and carboplatin as compared with pemetrexed and carboplatin alone in the KEYNOTE-021 study.”
“In a planned subgroup analysis of the phase III AURA3 trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Wu et al found that the third-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor osimertinib (Tagrisso) produced higher central nervous system (CNS) response rates vs platinum plus pemetrexed (Alimta) in patients with advanced EGFR T790M-positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“In AURA3, 419 patients with disease progression on prior EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment were randomized 2:1 to receive osimertinib at 80 mg once daily or platinum plus pemetrexed. The current subgroup analysis was conducted in patients with measurable or nonmeasurable CNS lesions on baseline brain scan by blinded independent central neuroradiologic review.”
“Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced results from KEYNOTE-189, a pivotal Phase 3 trial evaluating KEYTRUDA®, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with pemetrexed (ALIMTA®) and cisplatin or carboplatin for the first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Findings showed that the KEYTRUDA-pemetrexed-platinum chemotherapy combination significantly improved overall survival (OS), reducing the risk of death by half compared with chemotherapy alone (HR=0.49 [95% CI, 0.38-0.64]; p<0.00001). In pre-specified exploratory analyses, an OS benefit was observed regardless of PD-L1 expression in the three PD-L1 categories that were evaluated, including: patients whose tumors were negative for PD-L1 (HR=0.59 [95% CI, 0.38-0.92]); patients whose tumors had PD-L1 tumor proportion scores (TPS) of 1-49 percent (HR=0.55 [95% CI, 0.34-0.90]); and patients who had a TPS of greater than or equal to 50 percent (HR=0.42 [95% CI, 0.26-0.68]). The addition of KEYTRUDA to pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy also achieved a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS), with a reduction in the risk of progression or death of nearly half for patients in the KEYTRUDA combination arm, compared with chemotherapy alone (HR=0.52 [95% CI, 0.43-0.64]; p<0.00001). A PFS improvement in the KEYTRUDA combination group was observed in patients whose tumors were negative for PD-L1 (HR=0.75 [95% CI, 0.53-1.05]); patients with a TPS of 1-49 percent (HR=0.55 [95% CI, 0.37-0.81]); and patients with a TPS greater than or equal to 50 percent (HR=0.36 [95% CI, 0.25-0.52]). These results are being presented today in a plenary session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2018 (Abstract #CT075), with simultaneous publication in The New England Journal of Medicine.”
“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.”
“The addition of pembrolizumab to pemetrexed and cisplatin or carboplatin improved OS and PFS as first-line treatment for patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer, according to a manufacturer-issued press release.
“Combination regimens—particularly with checkpoint inhibitors and chemotherapy—are showing promise for the treatment of patients with squamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“Beyond the May 2017 FDA approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus carboplatin/pemetrexed for nonsquamous patients regardless of PD-L1 status, researchers are turning their focus to immunotherapy combinations in squamous patients in ongoing clinical trials. For example, the randomized, open-label, phase III IMpower131 study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with carboplatin/paclitaxel or carboplatin/nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) versus carboplatin/nab-paclitaxel in chemotherapy-naïve patients with stage IV squamous NSCLC (NCT02367794). The trial, which has a primary endpoint of progression-free survival, is expected to enroll 1021 patients.”
“Combination immunotherapy as second or third line treatment extends overall survival to at least 15 months in patients with pleural malignant mesothelioma, according to late-breaking results from the MAPS2 trial presented today at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
“Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare disease usually caused by occupational exposure to asbestos. First line therapy is pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab. There is no approved second line treatment and drugs that have been tested in this setting had low efficacy, with a disease control rate under 30%. Phase II studies have shown promising activity of checkpoint inhibitors as second line treatment.”
“Treatment with nintedanib plus pemetrexed and cisplatin improved progression-free survival (PFS) in the frontline setting by 3.7 months for chemotherapy-naive patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), according to data reported at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
“In the phase II trial, known as LUME-Meso, the median PFS was 9.4 months with the nintedanib combination versus 5.7 months with pemetrexed and cisplatin alone (HR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.33-0.87; P = .010). The median overall survival (OS) was 18.3 months with nintedanib versus 14.2 months with chemotherapy alone; however, this finding was not statistically significant (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.46-1.29; P = .319).”
Update: We are deeply saddened to report that Phil passed away on February 25, 2019. It is a privilege to continue to share his story and help keep his memory alive.
In November of 2014, Phil Kauffman went to his primary care doctor with what he thought was a broken rib. The doctor advised him to let it heal on its own—a standard approach for such maladies.
Phil, a retired engineering consultant who lives near San Diego, California, with his wife (their two daughters are grown), went home and waited for his rib to heal, but the pain stuck around for months.
In March of 2015 his doctor ordered an X-ray, but instead of a broken rib, it revealed suspicious spots in Phil’s lung. A CT scan found five lesions characteristic of lung cancer. His rib pain was caused by pleural effusion (liquid) in his right lung, which was extracted, and an examination of that liquid confirmed a diagnosis of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Phil remembers that during the first week after his diagnosis he was paralyzed with fear. His brother in law, a physician, helped him snap out of it, assuring him that his treatment options guaranteed a survival period of at least a few years or maybe more, and that cancer research was progressing at such a fast rate that the prospect of extending his lifetime beyond a couple of years was good. Continue reading…