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FDA Approves First Combination of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer Patients

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy for patients with lung cancer. Patients with metastatic, nonsquamous, non-small cell lung cancer can now take Keytruda (pembrolizumab) immunotherapy along with chemotherapy (pemetrexed and carboplatin) as a first line of treatment for their lung cancer. This approval was based on data from the KEYNOTE-21 trial showing that patients treated with the combination therapy had a 55% response rate, compared to 29% with chemotherapy alone. With the addition of Keytruda, patients had a median increase of four months before cancer progression. This was an accelerated approval based on a small number of patients.

Keytruda was already available as a first-line treatment by itself (without chemotherapy) if the cancer has high levels of the biomarker PD-L1. This new approval includes patients with low or absent PD-L1.

LCA is thrilled to see additional treatment options for patients with lung cancer and encourages all patients to have a discussion with their oncologist about their specific situation, molecular/biomarker testing for their cancer, and what options may be right for them.

If you need help finding treatment options to discuss with your doctor, please contact our LungMATCH specialists on our HelpLine at 1-800-298-2436.