On approximately 500 patients, the drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was tested with non-small cell lung cancer.
FDA, authorities of US have approved a breakthrough immunotherapy drug to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer, which signals a paradigm shift in the way the one of the deadliest of all cancers is treated.
Using immunotherapy in the largest study published to date to treat lung cancer, the drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was tested with non-small cell lung cancer on approximately 500 patients.
As most of the patients in the research showed significant long-lasting responses, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in October 2014, granted the drug “breakthrough therapy” status for use in lung cancer.
“The approval of this drug and a test to identify patients most likely to benefit has the potential to transform the way that lung cancer is treated,” said Dr. Edward Garon, the study’s principal investigator and a researcher at University of California, Los Angeles’ Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The quality and duration of disease response that was seen in the trial had previously been extremely rare in lung cancer. For people battling this deadly disease, this approach provides real hope of long-lasting responses while avoiding the toxicities of typical chemotherapy,” he said.
The duration and response rate for Keytruda were much higher than for drugs traditionally used to treat lung cancer. The overall response rate, in the three-year clinical trial(the percentage of people in whom tumours were substantially reduced in size) was 19%. The average duration in people who responded to treatment of response exceeded one year, considered as remarkable advance in this difficult cases.