Immune therapy key to extending lung cancer patients' lives
Immune therapy key to extending lung cancer patients' lives
Merck's Keytruda combined with Alimta and chemo cut first-line lung cancer patients' death risk by 51
17 April, 2018, 09:38
It's a sign that checkpoint inhibitors like Keytruda, which unleash a patient's immune system to fight cancer, are on their way to becoming first-line therapies for cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, killing more than 150,000 people a year.
The five key Principles for improving lung cancer outcomes have been well established: patient-centered care; timely access to evidence-based pathways of care; multidisciplinary care; co-ordination, communication and continuity of care; and data-driven improvements.
"Today is a big day in lung cancer", Forde said.
The Phase 3 clinical trial followed more than 600 patients split into two groups: one that was given Keytruda with a standard chemotherapy treatment and a control group that only received the chemotherapy. "This is a huge step forward for patients with lung cancer to have so many new options".
"Using this combination therapy to treat patients with such an aggressive disease could be an important advance in keeping patients alive and well for longer", Gandhi added.
Patients undergoing the new type of treatment - which harnesses the immune system so it targets and destroys only cancer cells - typically lived longer with fewer reports of the cancer returning. In a second study, doctors found that giving Opdivo to advanced lung cancer patients before surgery helped shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.
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.
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