The immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab significantly improves survival in people with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), interim trial results published in The New England Journal of Medicine (25 September 2018) have shown
The study involved patients with stage III unresectable NSCLC whose disease had not progressed following chemoradiotherapy. Overall, 473 patients received durvalumab and 236 patients received placebo by infusion every 2 weeks for up to 12 months.
The results showed that durvalumab significantly increased the overall survival rate at 24 months to 66.3%, compared with 55.6% in the placebo group. Durvalumab was also found to prolong survival by over 30% when compared with placebo.
An earlier analysis in the phase III trial had indicated that the immunotherapy increased progression-free survival in this group of patients and the treatment was consequently authorised by the European Medicines Agency in September 2018.
The researchers noted that this was the first time an immunotherapy had been shown to improve survival in patients with stage III NSCLC.
“With the between-group difference in median progression-free survival remaining more than 11 months, the results of the analysis of overall survival indicate that the progression-free survival benefit has translated to a significant prolongation in overall survival,” they said.