According to a new study published online in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers have found that tecemotide, a MUC1-antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy, may provide treatment benefit in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy.

Researchers had previously conducted the phase III START study that evaluated tecemotide versus placebo, and although the study did not meet its primary endpoint, a subgroup analysis found that tecemotide provided notable survival benefit versus placebo in patients treated with concurrent radiotherapy.

Now, the researchers report updated overall survival data in patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC who had not progressed following frontline chemoradiotherapy and had been treated with tecemotide or placebo during the START trial.

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Results showed that median overall survival was 25.8 months in the tecemotide group versus 22.4 months in the placebo group (HR = 0.89; 95% CI: 0.77 – 1.03; P = 0.111) with about 20 months of additional median follow-up time compared with the primary analysis in the START trial.

The exploratory subgroup analysis had shown an overall survival of 29.4 months in the tecemotide group compared with 20.8 months in the placebo group (HR = 0.81; 95% CI: 0.68 – 0.98; P = 0.026). Researchers also found that elevated sMUC1 or ANA levels may correlate with tecemotide benefit.


  1. Mitchell P, Thatcher N, Socinski MA, et al. Tecemotide in unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer in the phase III START study: updated overall survival and biomarker analyses. Ann Oncol. 2015. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv104.