FDA Approves Keytruda Combo for Lung Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration has granted approval for a combination therapy with Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for patients with non–small cell lung cancer.

This is the first time an immunotherapy has been approved for use with chemotherapy. Patients will not need to be tested for PD-L1 before starting this treatment, which is a shift from previous approvals which required PD-L1 testing.

The overall response rate for Keytruda and chemotherapy is 55% vs 29% for chemotherapy on its own. Keytruda and chemotherapy reduce the risk of progression or death by 47%. Although these figures come from a relatively small study, it is still promising and there is a hope that these results remain with a larger study group.



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5 Replies

  • Wow this is good news! Does anyone know what the circumstances have to be in order to get approval for use on small cell?


  • Great question RwHayes! I'm going to pull FtB_Mary into this conversation to see if she has the answer.

  • RwHayes That is a great question! Several clinical studies of immunotherapies in combination with chemo in patients with small cell lung cancer are ongoing. I'm hesitant to speculate when new treatments will be FDA approved for small cell lung cancer, but I hope to learn more at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in a few weeks. I also found this video from last week. It is a bit technical, but discusses some of the studies: cancernetwork.com/videos-lu...

  • This sounds promising. Looking forward to learning more about it.

  • Thank you, science!

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