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Combination pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy: a new standard of care for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Authors Weinberg F, Gadgeel S

Received 8 January 2019

Accepted for publication 9 April 2019

Published 4 June 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 47—56

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/LCTT.S176391

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Melinda Thomas

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou


Frank Weinberg, Shirish Gadgeel

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Abstract: Until recently, the treatment of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors did not have a targetable genetic alteration was cytotoxic chemotherapy alone. This treatment provided only modest survival benefit. The introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting programmed cell death 1 protein (PD-1) signaling pathway in the treatment of patients with NSCLC has had significant effect on patient survival. Atezolizumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab have been shown to be superior to chemotherapy in patients with recurrent NSCLC. Recently, pembrolizumab has been combined with chemotherapy in the front-line setting and has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival in NSCLC patients as compared to chemotherapy alone. In this review we will focus on the clinical trials that led to approval of combination pembrolizumab and chemotherapy as first-line treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC as well as discuss other combinations of immunotherapy and chemotherapy that have also been evaluated.

Keywords: NSCLC, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, clinical trials

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