Combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy may improve survival

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Immunotherapy combined with chemotherapy could be an effective treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, researchers say.Skaman306/Getty Images
  • Chemotherapy is the standard first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, but immunotherapy has recently emerged as a potentially more effective alternative.
  • Clinical trial data suggest that cemiplimab, a type of immunotherapy, combined with chemotherapy can significantly improve overall survival over chemotherapy alone.
  • In a randomized phase 3 clinical trial, the combination of cemiplimab and chemotherapy resulted in greater relief of pain symptoms and worsening of quality-of-life-related symptoms and function than chemotherapy alone in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. shown to be delayed.

Phase 3 EMPOWER-Lung 3 Clinical trials had previously shown that cemiplimab Chemotherapy is more effective than chemotherapy alone in improving survival outcomes in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Now, analysis Patient-reported clinical trial outcome data show that the combination of cemiplimab and chemotherapy can reduce pain, shortness of breath, constipation, insomnia and nausea and delay time to symptom deterioration compared to chemotherapy alone. It shows what you can do.

The results were published in a journal cancer.

“This study provides valuable evidence to support the use of semiplimab in combination with chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” he said. Dr. Wael HerbHematologist and medical oncologist at Memorial Care Cancer Institute, Orange Coast Medical Center, California, but not involved in research.

“Importantly, this combination not only improves the overall survival of patients, but also significantly improves their quality of life,” he said. medical news today. “This means patients experienced fewer or milder severe symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath and nausea. It is important because it shows that cancer can be aggressively tackled while ensuring that we can maintain

Lung cancer is leading Cause of death from cancer in the United States. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, 80-85% of all lung cancer cases.

Advanced stage cancer refers to tumors that have metastasized and therefore cannot be removed surgically. Advanced-stage cancer generally has a poor prognosis and is unlikely to respond to treatment.

Chemotherapy has traditionally been the standard initial or first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. However, chemotherapy has limited efficacy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer and is associated with severe side effects and resistance to chemotherapy.

Recently, immunotherapy It has emerged as an effective first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.

T cells It helps the immune system recognize cancer cells. Immune cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages present proteins from cancer cells to her T cells, activating T cell responses.

T cells express the programmed cell death (PD-1) receptor, an immune checkpoint protein, on their surface. PD-1 ligand (PD-L1), expressed by macrophages and dendritic cells, binds to PD-1 receptors and prevents activation of T cell responses. However, tumor cells may also express her PD-L1, thus avoiding removal of tumor cells by T cells.

in the investigation, It is shown Antibodies against PD1 or PD-L1 may improve T-cell responses and clinical outcomes in cancer patients. Such immunotherapy also effective As first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

In the randomized phase 3 clinical trial EMPOWER-Lung 3, cemiplimab, an antibody against PD-1, in combination with chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival and no disease progression compared to chemotherapy It has been previously demonstrated that the duration is extended. No immunotherapy.

The goal of treatment for individuals with advanced-stage disease is not only to prolong survival but also to improve quality of life.

Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer include pain, coughing, and difficulty breathing that can adversely affect a person’s health. Quality of life.

Additionally, using multiple treatments in combination can increase the chance of side effects and negatively impact quality of life.

In a recent study, researchers used data from the EMPOWER-Lung 3 trial to compare the impact of cemiplimab plus chemotherapy on quality of life in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who received chemotherapy alone.

The analysis consisted of 312 participants assigned to receive semiplimab plus chemotherapy as first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, and another 154 participants receiving placebo plus chemotherapy as a control arm.

Individuals in each group received either semiplimab or placebo every 3 weeks for up to 108 weeks in combination with 4 cycles of chemotherapy.

The researchers used Patient-reported outcome to Assess the impact of these treatments on quality of life.

These health results are obtained directly from the patient without interpretation by clinicians. These patient-reported results will be used by clinicians to facilitate the individualized care and management of the patient’s condition.

The researchers administered questionnaires to patients to assess patient-related outcomes. These questionnaires included: European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30)designed to assess health-related quality of life in cancer patients. QLQ-LC13 To assess quality of life in lung cancer patients.

These questionnaires were administered at baseline, before each of the first 6 treatments, and after every 3 treatment cycles.

Based on responses to the QLQ-C30, which assesses health-related quality of life, the researchers found that patients who received cemiplimab plus chemotherapy experienced greater pain relief during the trial than the control group. I found that it was reported that

The combination of cemiplimab and chemotherapy not only prolonged physical and emotional functioning, but also time to worsening of symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

The researchers found no difference in improvement in lung cancer-specific symptoms in patients who received cemiplimab plus chemotherapy or placebo plus chemotherapy.

However, the combination of cemiplimab and chemotherapy delayed the time to exacerbation of symptoms such as cough, sore mouth, hair loss, hemoptysis, and difficulty swallowing.

The results of this study are important because it is a randomized controlled trial. Herb said.

“A major advantage of this study is that it used a large and diverse patient population, making the results more reliable and applicable to a wider range of patients. We used a recognized measurement scale, which made it easier to compare our results with other studies,” he said.

“However, there are some limitations to consider. For example, the study compared patient quality of life scores to an existing set of reference values. It may not be an exact match with experience, so while the results are promising, we need to be a little more cautious about applying it to all patients,” Herb added.

Given that cemiplimab activates the immune system, it may also cause over-activation of the immune system.

“The immune response is also an inflammatory response, which correlates with the downside of possible side effects with this class of drugs. The inflammatory response can be strong and can affect other organs. ” he said. Dr. Federico Albrechtan oncologist/hematologist at the Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health, FL.

“When that happens, you have to stop, but depending on the strength of the immune response, it’s possible to temporarily stop immunotherapy and then treat with steroids,” he said. . medical news today. “However, most patients can retake the immunotherapy cemiplimab and continue on this therapy as long as their disease is controlled and stable.”

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