In a nutshell
This study wanted to find out if pembrolizumab (Keytruda) treatment works in patients with small-cell lung cancer who have received at least two other types of cancer treatment before. The study found that treatment with pembrolizumab was effective and well tolerated in these patients.
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) can be difficult to treat. Sometimes multiple treatments need to be performed to find which one will work best. Pembrolizumab is a targeted therapy that has been shown to be effective in heavily pretreated cancer patients. It is not known if treatment with pembrolizumab will work in patients with advanced SCLC who have had two or more other types of treatment before.
Methods & findings
This study had 83 patients with SCLC. The cancer was either recurrent or had spread to other parts of the body. All of the patients had been treated with at least two different kinds of cancer treatment before. During this study, all of the patients received treatment with pembrolizumab. The patients were followed for an average of 7.7 months.
Overall, 19.3% of the patients responded to treatment with pembrolizumab. Of the 83 patients, two completely responded to treatment (no signs of cancer). Another 14 patients had a partial response to the treatment (tumor shrinkage). After 18 months, 61% of patients were still responding to treatment.
61.4% of the patients experienced side effects. 9.6% of these patients had 'serious' side effects. Side effects to treatment included tiredness, rashes, issues with the thyroid, itching, and joint pain.
The bottom line
The study concluded that pembrolizumab was effective and well tolerated in patients with advanced small-cell lung cancer that has previously been treated with two or more lines of therapy.
The fine print
This was a small study with a short follow-up period. Larger studies over longer periods of time are needed.
Published By :
Journal of Thoracic Oncology
Dec 20, 2019