Investigators Look Past Standard Immunotherapy for Additional Lung Cancer Solutions: "That's the beauty of science. Anything can be intellectual.".

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Date: Sept. 2021
From: Oncology(Vol. 35, Issue 9)
Publisher: Intellisphere, LLC
Document Type: Interview
Length: 1,495 words
Lexile Measure: 1150L

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Immunotherapy has cemented itself as a standard of care across multiple lung cancer indications, but investigators continue to seek solutions that may help broader patient populations in the future.

Roman Perez-Soler, MD, who is chief of the Division of Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine as well as a professor in the Department of Medicine and Department of Molecular Pharmacology, discusses the modern history of systemic treatments for lung cancer, current research surrounding prevention, and what he would do if he were an earlycareer oncologist.

Perez-Soler has been a part of many innovative trials, and one recent study in particular explored the use of inhaled azacitidine to treat patients with stage IV or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NCT02009436), which he details in his interview with ONCOLOGY'.

Q: How far has immunotherapy come in the lung cancer space?

A: I'm not involved personally in the newest trials, which is an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that you can look at things from a distance. We really started extremely well by showing that pembrolizumab [Keytruda] alone [works] in patients who have more than 50% PD-L1 [expression]. That's a great response, and the long-term survival is significant. Then, [in patients with lower than 50% PD-L1 expression], we also partner it with chemotherapy, and we get very good results.

[We've seen] the development of the immunotherapy combination ipilimumab [Yervoy] and nivolumab [Opdivo], (1) which is still trying to find a home in a way. This is probably a good option for some patients, particularly those who are PD-L1 negative. The main problem is the added toxicity; that's what people claim to be the disadvantage. The combination is looking for a home, but the addition of ipilimumab is doing something.

The other [challenge] is trying to find better biomarkers to predict who is going to respond best to these [agents]. PD-L1 has been useful, but it's not perfect. Other elements determine whether you're going to respond, and in all investigations, we try to answer that question. There's a real need to better understand which patients will benefit the most from this approach.

There's no question that immunotherapy has represented the major events in lung cancer treatment in the last...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A679525833