Pembrolizumab demonstrated safety and promising efficacy in pre-treated patients with advanced, PD-L1-positive small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

For this phase Ib KEYNOTE-028 trial ( Identifier: NCT02054806), researchers enrolled 24 patients with PD-L1-expressing SCLC and administered at least 1 dose of pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks.

One (4.2%) patient achieved complete response, and 7 patients (29.2%) achieved durable partial responses. The overall response rate (ORR) was 33.3% (95% CI, 15.6%-55.3%).

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Safety was consistent with known safety profiles from previous studies. All patients experienced adverse effects (AE). Treatment-related toxicity was observed in 66.7% of patients, and the most frequently reported AEs were arthralgia, asthenia, rash, diarrhea, and cough.

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Grade 3 to 5 AEs occurred in 8 patients. Two patients required interventions for AEs related to treatment, leading to discontinuation in 1 patient and death in the other.


  1. Ott PA, Elez E, Hiret S, et al. Pembrolizumab in patients with extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer: results from the phase Ib KEYNOTE-028 study. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Aug 16. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.72.5069 [Epub ahead of print]