Chemotherapy is one of the widely used treatment options available for lung cancer patients. During chemotherapy, a patient suffers from many physical as well as emotional challenges. Chemo is not an easy task and requires great strength on the part of the sufferers. According to a new study, many people with lung cancer may forgo chemotherapy and still live longer. The findings were released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, the world’s largest annual cancer conference.
In the study, they tested a form of immunotherapy against chemo and found that Merck pharmaceutical drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) helped lung cancer patients to live four to eight months longer than chemo. Pembrolizumab is an approved drug for lung cancer. Over 1200 people were enrolled and it was the largest clinical trial of pembrolizumab as a stand-alone therapy for treatment of lung cancer.
Gilberto Lopes, lead author at a medical oncologist at the University of Miami Health Center, said, “These are responses that are unlike anything we have seen in the past for non-small-cell lung cancer.” “This trial shows that pembrolizumab used alone improves survival as opposed to chemotherapy,” he added. Keytruda has worked better than chemotherapy and the combination of these two would be the best choice for lung cancer treatment.
The researchers randomly assigned 1274 patients with advanced lung cancer to receive pembrolizumab or chemo with average follow-up time of 13 months. It was found that pembrolizumab had longer average survival of about 16.7 months as compared to 12 months in case of chemotherapy. Also, the benefits of pembrolizumab increased with amount of PD-L1 expression in lung cancers. Pembrolizumab led to higher overall survival rates than chemotherapy alone. Presently, the findings should be considered preliminary and further evidences are also required.
What are your thoughts about the role of chemotherapy in lung cancer treatment? Share your views with us in the comments.