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.