Since October 2016, and following the KEYNOTE-024 trial, the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab has been approved for the frontline treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a PD-L1 expression level of at least 50%. Following this year’s meeting that’s set to change.
Researchers presented data from the KEYNOTE-042, which showed pembrolizumab’s benefit extended to all NSCLC patients, regardless of PD-L1 expression levels. Over 1,200 patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC were randomized to receive chemotherapy or pembrolizumab. Compared to those receiving standard chemo, patients who received pembrolizumab had a longer median OS. For patients with PD-L1 above 50%, median OS was 20 months versus 12.2 months; for PD-L1 above 20%, 17.7 months versus 13 months; for PD-L1 above 1%, 16.7 months versus 12.1 months.