Lung Cancer Patients Live Longer With Immune Therapy Adding Merck's Keytruda To Chemo Halves Death Risk For Lung Cancer Patients Immunotherapy scores big win against lung cancer in study A New Lung Cancer Drug Is Shaking Up Treatment: How Does It Work? Early immunotherapy would benefit most lung cancer patients, says new research

Lung Cancer Patients Live Longer With Immune Therapy

Adding immunotherapy to standard chemo treatments can halve the risk of death for people with the most common type of lung cancer, a new study shows.

A colored magnetic resonance imaging scan of a cancerous tumor in the lung, in orange, upper right. The combination treatment is a significant improvement, she said. Another had to stop because of side effects after two or three months, but is well two years later. But this study included patients with varying levels. The results are expected to quickly set a new standard of care for about 70,000 patients each year in the United States whose lung cancer has already spread by the time it's found.

Copyright © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. All Rights Reserved. But many doctors did not adopt it because the trial was small and didn’t initially show a survival benefit, Gandhi said. She was previously The Post's health, science and environment editor. The lung-eating disease increasingly affecting women (and Barbara Bush).  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may not exactly be a household term.

Adding Merck's Keytruda To Chemo Halves Death Risk For Lung Cancer Patients

Leena Gandhi, a leader of the study and director of the Thoracic Medical Oncology Program at the Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University Langone Health. It is already approved as a first-line treatment for this disease, so it should be covered by health insurers. Herbst offered several theories about why chemotherapy and immunotherapy could work well together. The data are impressive,” Dr.

That's a big difference for such an advanced cancer, said Dr. A drug that acts on the immune system appears to help extend the lives of patients with advanced lung cancer when given alongside standard chemotherapy, a new study finds. Get the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy ( Your California Privacy Rights ).

Immunotherapy scores big win against lung cancer in study

Treatment improved survival in people newly diagnosed with the most common form of lung cancer – but it doesn't work for everyone

Immunotherapy has been making steady gains against a number of cancers. She was scheduled to present the results on Monday in Chicago at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, and they were also published in The New England Journal of Medicine. He said that tumor cells were like bags of hidden proteins that, if exposed, the immune system could use as targets to find and attack cancer.

All of these immune therapy treatments worked for only about half of patients, but that's far better than chemo has done in the past. Rates of serious side effects were similar, but twice as many in the Keytruda group dropped out because of them. The drug, called pembrolizumab and sold under the brand name Keytruda, helps the immune system detect and fight cancer cells, according to Merck , the drug's maker.

A New Lung Cancer Drug Is Shaking Up Treatment: How Does It Work?

A drug that acts on the immune system appears to help extend the lives of patients with advanced lung cancer when given alongside standard chemotherapy.

Herbst said. “Chemotherapy has limitations. By killing some tumor cells, chemotherapy could pop open the bags, release the contents and help immune cells — unleashed by the checkpoint drugs — to identify their prey. There’s a lot more room to do better. CBS News' chief medical correspondent Dr. More than 4 percent of that group developed lung inflammation and three patients died of it. Usually, immune cells known as T cells detect threats in the body, such as infectious diseases, or even cancer.

The report was one of several highly anticipated studies on immunotherapy and lung cancer presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago. Experts said they will have to see more details before they can determine whether the medication is better used alone or with chemo. Check your inbox for details. Time Inc. I’ve been treating lung cancer for 25 years now, and I’ve never seen such a big paradigm shift as we’re seeing with immunotherapy,” said Dr.

Early immunotherapy would benefit most lung cancer patients, says new research

It is also possible, he said, that chemotherapy may kill some immune cells that interfere with the cancer-killing action of other parts of the immune system. A version of this article appears in print on April 17, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: New Lung Cancer Study Shows the Power of Immune Therapy. The studies were sponsored by the drugmakers, and many study leaders and Herbst consult for the companies.

But cancer cells can hide from the immune system if they have a protein on their surface called PD‑L1. Nearly 300 people were randomly assigned to receive either the combination of the immune-based drugs or the traditional chemotherapy treatment. The American Cancer Society estimates that 234,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and 154,050 will die of it. And he said the trial showed that “tumor mutational burden” is a reliable way to predict who will benefit from the medications.

New Studies Show Immune Treatments Could Be Key in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

A series of studies detail new ways of using immune-based treatments to reduce tumors and improve survival of lung cancer.

We’re interested in your feedback on this page. Keytruda, Yervoy and Opdivo are called checkpoint inhibitors. Of 679 patients, 299 had a high number of gene flaws in their tumors. This protein tells T cells to stand down and not attack the cancer cells, according to Merck. For example, newer targeted therapy drugs home in on specific genetic mutations that are responsible for driving a person’s cancer.

Another study published Monday used immunotherapy in a different way — for  patients with early-stage lung cancer. New study results released Monday continue to cement drug giant Merck’s status as the force to be reckoned with in the lung cancer treatment space. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy ( Your California Privacy Rights ). He was not involved in the pembrolizumab study.

Are Combination Therapies the Next Wave for Treating Lung Cancer?

They remove a cloak that some cancer cells have that hides them from the immune system. In that group, survival without worsening of disease was 43 percent after one year for those on the immunotherapy drugs versus 13 percent of those on chemo. Pembrolizumab blocks this interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1, and thus "allows our own immune cells to destroy the tumor cell," said Dr. Doctors can also determine if a person’s lung cancer is genetically vulnerable to the checkpoint inhibitor drugs tested in the current study.

Nine of the 20 patients who got Opdivo had a “major pathologic response” — a sharp reduction in the number of cancer cells found in the tumors removed by surgery. In fact, it’s approved as a go-to a treatment in combination with chemotherapy for advanced cancer patients who haven’t taken any other medicines. Fortune may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Can a simple blood test rule out lung cancer?

The median time until cancer worsened was about 7 months on the immunotherapy drugs versus 5.5 months for chemo. Yau noted, however, that pembrolizumab by itself works only in a minority of patients. Matthew Hellmann of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), lead author of the study. The patients did not have cancer-causing mutations. Drew Pardoll, director of Hopkins’ Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, said that it is too early to know whether the findings will translate into longer survival.

Offers may be subject to change without notice. In the United States, it is expected to kill more than 154,000 people in 2018. Other studies in lung cancer have involved another checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, or Opdivo (made by Bristol-Myers Squibb), which works in a similar way to pembrolizumab. After a median follow-up of 10.5 months, those in the immunotherapy group were half as likely to die.

Hope For Lung Cancer Patients: Pembrolizumab Treatment Combo Raises Survival Odds To 70 Percent

The results will likely change the standard treatment for patients with this type of lung cancer, known as metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer. While nivolumab is approved for treating metastatic NSCLC, for example, that indication calls for using it if the disease continues to progress either during or after chemotherapy. One group was treated only with chemo, while the other got an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda plus chemo.

The company reported that the drug-plus-chemotherapy combo had a “hazard ratio” of 0.49. Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Patients in the study had an advanced stage of non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer. The data are not conclusive, but Dr. The median overall survival was 11.3 months in those who did not receive immunotherapy, whereas survival in the immunotherapy group was longer and the median has not yet been reached.

For advanced lung cancer, immune therapy plus chemo prolongs survival

"It is literally practice-changing — immediately.”

There may also be other ways to improve outcomes for people with advanced NSCLC. Some of the results had been released previously, but not specific details. Read more: Immunotherapy moves to the front lines in fight against lung cancer  New cancer treatments have perplexing side effects The cancer death rate has dropped again. Merck stock spiked about 2.5% in Monday trading on the strength of the results.

The immune-activating drug was a checkpoint inhibitor called pembrolizumab, or Keytruda, made by Merck, which paid for the study. Herbst said, “In lung cancer, my suspicion is these drugs are the same, like Coke vs. But patients in the immunotherapy group had more kidney problems, more immune-related adverse events and were more likely to stop treatment because of side effects. CHICAGO — For the first time, a treatment that boosts the immune system greatly improved survival in people newly diagnosed with the most common form of lung cancer .

Brainstorm Health: Merck's Lung Cancer Triumph, COPD and Women, Trump on Drug Prices

Brainstorm Health Daily: April 16, 2018

Scientists who weren't involved in the study agreed that it was highly significant. Here's why. BMS shares dropped nearly 10% Monday despite another study showing that Opdivo, combined with another Bristol-Myers immunotherapy called Yervoy, slowed lung cancer’s progression in patients. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar , Inc. The chemotherapy was a drug called pemetrexed, plus either carboplatin or cisplatin.

Patients were tested for a biomarker used to predict whether pembrolizumab is likely to help them. It's the biggest win so far for immunotherapy , which has had much of its success until now in less common cancers. Those not given Keytruda were allowed to switch to it if their cancer worsened. All Rights Reserved. A Cancer 'Vaccine' Cured 97% of Tumors in Mice. The results are even more encouraging for people with early stage lung cancer.

New Drugs May Be Big Advance in Lung Cancer Care

In a first, U.S. trial to test Cuban lung-cancer vaccine  Laurie McGinley covers health and medicine for The Washington Post. Amazon may not be selling drugs to hospitals after all.   CNBC  reports that Amazon’s enterprise arm is reversing course on a plan to sell and distribute prescription drugs. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: . Gandhi said chemotherapy alone had only a “modest benefit,” and could add only a few months of life, with most patients surviving about a year or less.

The drug alone is already approved to treat patients with high levels of those markers. In the study, Merck's Keytruda , given with standard chemotherapy, cut in half the risk of dying or having the cancer worsen, compared to chemo alone after nearly one year. How much it ultimately will extend life isn't known — more than half in the Keytruda group are still alive; median survival was just over 11 months for the others.

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. Time Inc. Last May, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Keytruda-chemo combination based on an early-stage trial. She focuses on the Food and Drug Administration as well as cancer research and treatment. President Trump to deliver drug price speech next week.  President Donald Trump is planning a “major” speech on drug prices on April 26, Politico reports.