In a nutshell
This study compared the effectiveness and safety between immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and docetaxel (Taxotere) therapy alone in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The data showed ICIs significantly improved the survival outcomes with fewer serious side effects compared to docetaxel alone for the treatment of patients with NSCLC.
NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer. NSCLC is responsible for around 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses. Standard treatment for advanced NSCLC involves surgical removal of solid tumors, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Docetaxel is a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of advanced-stage NSCLC.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own system to fight cancer. Tumor cells try to avoid death by switching off our immune system. They bind to proteins on the surface of the immune cells such as PD-1/PD-L1. These proteins can stop the immune system from killing cancerous cells. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are examples of PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors that work by inhibiting (blocking) PD-1/PD-L1. This inhibition triggers the immune system to attack tumor cells and kills them.
PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors as a first-line treatment have been found to significantly improve the outcomes of patients with advanced NSCLC. However, there are few studies comparing the effectiveness and safety between ICIs and docetaxel therapy alone in patients with NSCLC.
Methods & findings
This study analyzed 8 other studies that involved patients with NSCLC. 2444 patients were treated with ICIs. 2097 patients were treated with docetaxel alone.
Patients treated with ICIs were 40% more likely to have a longer overall survival than patients treated with docetaxel alone. Patients treated with ICIs were 22% more likely to have a longer survival without cancer worsening than patients treated with docetaxel alone.
Patients treated with ICIs were 73% less likely to experience serious side effects than patients treated with docetaxel alone.
The bottom line
This study concluded that ICIs significantly improved the survival outcomes for patients with advanced NSCLC compared to docetaxel alone, with fewer serious side effects.
The fine print
This study looked back in time at medical records. The sample size was small. Larger studies are needed to validate the conclusions.
Published By :
Frontiers in oncology
Aug 30, 2022