Combating Small Cell Lung Cancer with Upfront Immunotherapy Options

SCLC, Small Cell Lung CancerLung Cancer is the second most common form of cancer worldwide. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) represents about 10% to 15% of all lung cancers. It is a form of neuroendocrine tumor, classified into limited and extensive-stage disease. Chemotherapy remains the standard line of treatment for SCLC. SCLC remains challenging for treatment as it has aggressive nature and has limited therapy advancements. In the recent years, immunotherapy has transformed the way patients can be treated with this disease. The clinical trials combining immunotherapy and drugs help to boost the immune system to person and thus, helping in fighting the lung cancer. Immunotherapy is the use of medicines for stimulating the person’s own immune system to recognize and then destroy the cancer cells effectively.

Dr. Jason Niu, a thoracic oncologist and director of the Lung Cancer Program at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in an interview with OncLive®, a sister publication of CURE®, “Essentially, these (combinations) are game-changers that have transformed how we treat patients with extensive-stage SCLC. We have a new standard of care.” Niu has specifically referred to two clinical trials, IMpower133 and CASPIAN. These both have showed survival benefits for the lung cancer patients. He has also explained that the follow-up from the trial has been short and thus, it is vital to follow the patients to see the long-term survival benefits.

Immunotherapy for Lung CancerThose patients where lung cancer progresses following the initial treatments: Dr. Jason Niu has explained that other immunotherapy agents like Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) can also be used. Lurbinectedin is a new chemotherapy compound and has shown encouraging overall survival results. The trial included 105 patients with SCLC showed up to 45% response rate and an 11-month median overall survival.

Also, biomarkers are required in order to better inform which patients are most likely to respond to immunotherapy.

The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. If you face any issues, contact your healthcare practitioner immediately.

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