Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to focus on promising research in the field. Recently, health experts from around the globe gathered in Toronto for the 2018 World Conference on Lung Cancer. In case you missed it or need a refresher, we compiled a list of 8 key findings presented at the event that you should know about.

1. Durvalumab was found to prolong survival in patients with stage III unresectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A phase 3 trial validated the drug’s progression-free survival (PFS) benefit and found an overall survival (OS) benefit.

Study: Overall survival with durvalumab versus placebo after chemoradiotherapy in stage III NSCLC

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2. Patients are experiencing better PFS with brigatinib than with crizotinib. In an ongoing phase 3 study, researchers are comparing the efficacy of brigatinib and crizotinib in ALK-positive locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC that has not been treated with an ALK inhibitor. So far in the head-to-head analysis, investigators have found PFS to be longer in patients treated with brigatinib vs crizotinib.

Study: Brigatinib vs crizotinib in patients with ALK inhibitor-naive advanced ALK+ NSCLC: first report of a phase 3 trial

3. A phase 3 trial of niraparib was initiated in patients with extensive-disease small-cell lung cancer (ED-SCLC). Approximately 590 patients with ED-SCLC will enroll in the randomized, double-blind trial. The goal of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of niraparib maintenance therapy in ED-SCLC.

Study: A PH3 study of niraparib as maintenance therapy in 1L platinum responsive extensive disease small cell lung cancer patients

4. Nintedanib had no survival benefit when coupled with pemetrexed/cisplatin in patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). In a reversal from what was observed in a phase 2 trial on nintedanib, the phase 3 study demonstrated no statistically significant or clinically meaningful improvements in survival or PFS.

Study: Nintedanib + pemetrexed/cisplatin in patients with unresectable MPM: phase III results from the LUME-Meso trial

5. Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) concurrent with erlotinib did not benefit patients with NSCLC and multiple brain metastases more than WBRT alone. In a phase 3 study, researchers enrolled participants with NSCLC with at least 2 metastatic brain lesions and randomly assigned them to receive either WBRT or WBRT plus concurrent erlotinib.

Study: Phase 3 trial of whole brain radiotherapy with concurrent erlotinib versus WBRT alone for NSCLC with brain metastases

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6. Aprepitant plus palonosetron and dexamethasone was found to be effective in preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in patients with locally advanced or metastatic lung cancer. In a phase 3 randomized trial, patients with locally advanced or metastatic lung cancer were administered either aprepitant or placebo in addition to palonosetron and dexamethasone.

Study: Phase III randomized trial of palonosetron and dexamethasone with or without aprepitant to prevent full-dose single-day cisplatin-based CINV in lung cancer

7. Patients with advanced or metastatic, previously treated NSCLC may benefit from receiving metformin with atezolizumab. Researchers retrospectively explored the use of metformin in patients with NSCLC in the randomized phase 3 OAK trial that investigated atezolizumab for treatment of advanced or metastatic, previously treated NSCLC.

Study: Retrospective descriptive analysis of metformin with atezolizumab in advanced non-small cell lung cancer in the OAK trial

8. Darbepoetin alfa was noninferior to placebo for OS and PFS in anemic patients with NSCLC receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study found that darbepoetin alfa significantly reduced the odds of transfusion or hemoglobin ≤8.0 g/dL.

Study: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase 3 noninferiority study of darbepoetin alfa for anemia in advanced NSCLC


IASLC 19th world conference on lung cancer. International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. September 23-26, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.