NICE Recommends Keytruda Plus Chemo for NSCLC Treatment

Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Keytruda, alongside a combination of pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy for first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This combination is recommended for untreated, metastatic NSCLC in adults whose tumors have no epidermal growth factor (EGFR) positive or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive mutations. Previously, Keytruda with chemotherapy combination has been available to patients in UK via Cancer Drugs Fund.

Clinical trial evidence suggests that patients when treated with pembrolizumab combination treatment with chemotherapy live longer. Meindert Boysen, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said, “Through the Cancer Drugs Fund, pembrolizumab with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy has shown the potential to extend the lives of thousands of individuals, and we are pleased to now be able to recommend the treatment routinely.”

The approval was based on data from Keynote-77, a multi-center trial that enrolled 307 patients with previously untreated metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer. Keytruda is an anti-PD 1 therapy that works to increase the ability of body’s immune system to detect and fight tumor cells. NICE has published draft guidance for approval of Keytruda with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy to treat patients with non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer.

This draft guidance implies that pembrolizumab with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy will be available as first-line treatment for adults with tumors of no epidermal growth factor receptor-positive or anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive mutations. This combination of treatment was previously available through the Cancer Drugs Fund and has now been approved for routine commissioning on the NHS. The US Food and Drug Administration has also approved pembrolizumab with pemetrexed and platinum chemo in first-line non-small cell lung cancer irrespective of patients’ PD-L1 status.

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