Current status of immune checkpoint inhibition in early stage NSCLC
AffiliationRespiratory Oncology Unit, University Hospital KU Leuven, Leuven; Belgium
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AbstractImmune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) immunotherapy has revolutionized the approach to metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In particular, antibodies blocking the inhibitory immune checkpoints programmed death 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) are associated with higher response rates, improved overall survival and better tolerability as compared to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Recently, ICI has moved from the second-line to the first-line setting for many patients with non-oncogene addicted NSCLC, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The next logical step is to examine this therapy in patients with non-metastatic NSCLC to improve long-term overall survival and cure rates. For patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC, ICI with durvalumab after concurrent chemoradiotherapy has brought a major improvement in 2-year progression-free and overall survival, which holds promise for an improved cure rate. As the relapse pattern in patients with completely resected early stage NSCLC is predominantly systemic, high expectations rest on the integration of ICI therapy in their treatment approach. A large number of studies with adjuvant or neo-adjuvant ICI are ongoing, and will be discussed here. The advent of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) has brought a valid alternative treatment for patients unfit for or not willing to undergo surgery. Data on combining systemic therapy and SABR is virtually non-existent, but there is a strong biological rationale to combine radiotherapy and ICI therapy. Early findings in small feasibility studies are promising and now need to be explored in well-designed phase III trials.
CitationVansteenkiste J, Wauters E, Reymen B, Ackermann CJ, Peters S, De Ruysscher D. Current status of immune checkpoint inhibition in early stage NSCLC. Ann Oncol. 2019 May 28.
JournalAnnals of Oncology