The following article features coverage from the IASLC North America Conference on Lung Cancer 2019 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

A post hoc pooled analysis of KEYNOTE trial cohorts found that pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy improved overall and progression-free survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These findings were presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019) in Chicago, Illinois.1 Pembrolizumab is a cancer immunotherapy drug that targets programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and is the focus of the KEYNOTE oncology clinical trials.

“Our results highlight the clinically meaningful efficacy benefit and acceptable safety profile of pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in patients with advanced NSCLC and no PD-L1 expression,” wrote the authors, led by Hossein Borghaei, DO, MS, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Dr Borghaei and colleagues analyzed results of 1298 patients enrolled across 3 KEYNOTE cohorts ( Identifiers: NCT02039674, NCT02578680, and NCT02775435)  who received chemotherapy with or without pembrolizumab. Patients’ median overall survival was 8 months longer, and their median progression-free survival was 1.1 months longer, when treated with the immunotherapy drug than chemotherapy alone. Furthermore, the overall response rate was 46.9% in patients treated with pembrolizumab and chemotherapy, compared to 28.6% in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

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The authors wrote that the results suggest “pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy should be considered standard-of-care first-line therapy for all patients with NSCLC, irrespective of PD-L1 expression.”

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the IASLC NACLC 2019 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Borghaei H, Langer C, Paz-Ares L, et al. Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC without tumor PD-L1 expression: pooled analysis of KNO21G, KN189 and KN407. Presented at: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019); October 10-12, 2019: Chicago, Illinois. Abstract OA01.01.