Frontline pembrolizumab monotherapy for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with PD-L1 expression ≥50%: real-world outcomes in a US community oncology setting

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Front Oncol


BACKGROUND: This study investigated real-world time on treatment (rwToT) and overall survival (OS) for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (mNSCLC) who initiated first-line (1L) pembrolizumab monotherapy. We also explored discontinuation reasons and subsequent treatments, stratified by number of cycles among those who completed ≥17 cycles of 1L pembrolizumab.

METHODS: Patients with mNSCLC without actionable genetic aberrations, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) 0-2 and unknown, and PD-L1 TPS ≥ 50% starting 1L pembrolizumab monotherapy between 24-Oct-2016 and 31-Dec-2018 within The US Oncology Network were identified retrospectively and evaluated using structured data, with a data cutoff of 30-Sep-2021. Patient characteristics and disposition were summarized using descriptive statistics. OS and rwToT were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier method for all ECOG PS and PS 0-1. A subgroup of patients who completed ≥17 cycles were evaluated using supplemental chart review data to discern reasons for discontinuation.

RESULTS: Of the 505 patients with mNSCLC with PD-L1 TPS ≥50%, 61% had ECOG PS 0-1, 23% had ECOG PS 2, and 65% had nonsquamous histology. Median rwToT and OS of pembrolizumab were 7.0 (95% CI, 6.0-8.4) months and 24.5 (95% CI, 20.1-29.3) months, respectively. In the subgroup with ECOG PS 0-1, they were 7.6 months (95% CI, 6.2-9.2) and 28.8 months (95% CI, 22.4-37.5), respectively. Of the 103 patients who completed ≥17 cycles, 57 (55.3%) patients received 17 - 34 cycles and 46 (44.7%) patients received ≥35 cycles. Approximately 7.7% of the study population received pembrolizumab beyond 35 cycles. Most common reasons for discontinuation were disease progression (38.6%) and toxicity (19.3%) among patients who received 17-34 cycles of pembrolizumab, and disease progression (13.0%) and completion of therapy (10.9%) among patients who received ≥35 cycles.

CONCLUSION: Consistent with findings from KEYNOTE-024 and other real-world studies, this study demonstrates the long-term effectiveness of pembrolizumab monotherapy as 1L treatment for mNSCLC with PD-L1 TPS ≥50%. Among patients who completed ≥17 cycles, nearly half completed ≥35 cycles. Disease progression and toxicity were the most common reasons for discontinuation among patients who received 17-34 cycles of pembrolizumab. Reasons for discontinuation beyond 35 cycles need further exploration.

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