Immunotherapy and Lung Cancer

Immunotherapy and Lung Cancer

An analysis of Pembrolizumab against Nivolumab in NSCLC shows that their progression-free survival is similar, but that Pembrolizumab has a positive effect with more people.

In a retrospective study (1) of 255 patients with NSCLC (the majority adenocarcinoma, with some having squamous), 75% were male, average age was 61 years and all had recurrent or advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) had been used more as a front line treatment, or in combination with other drugs.

Pembrolizumab had a higher Objective Response Rate than Nivolumab (Opdivo) at 43% compared to 23%. Response Rate is the percentage of patients whose tumour shrinks significantly or disappears after treatment.

However progression-free survival averaged 23 weeks with Pembrolizumab and 21 weeks with Nivolumab and there was no real difference in sub-groups between the two when looking at median survival times.

The researchers concluded that either drug could be used with NSCLC and they were interchangeable. This study was claimed to be the first time the two immunotherapies had been compared in a real world situation.

Go to: Latest News on Lung Cancer


  1. Comparative effectiveness of Pembrolizumab vs Nivolumab in patients with NSCLC; Cui. P, 2020.


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2020 Research
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