Immunotherapy alone extended life for certain metastatic lung cancer patients

Real-world evidence is suggesting, for the first time, the most beneficial treatment courses that could help extend the lives of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, according to research from the Abramson Cancer Center.

Person wearing a face mask seated in a chair receives and IV drip from a nurse wearing a face mask.

In a new study published online in JAMA Oncology, researchers show that patients harboring a KRAS gene mutation with high levels of PDL-1 lived longer when treated with immunotherapy alone, compared to patients without this mutation. This survival difference by KRAS status was not seen, however, in patients treated with both chemotherapy and immunotherapy, suggesting combination therapy for patients without the mutation may be preferred.

The new findings, based off an analysis of the Flatiron Health database that includes aggregated, de-identified data from the electronic health records of more than 65,000 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, provide much-needed guidance to treat a disease that has a five-year survival of just 35 percent.

“This is a prime example of how real-world data can complement clinical trial data to help inform decision making between patients and their oncologists,” says senior author Ronac Mamtani, an assistant professor of hematology-oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.