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ESMO 2016 | Immunotherapy for lung cancer and trial of ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab

Roy Herbst, MD, PhD of Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT talks about immunotherapy for lung cancer and early results of the trial of ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (NCT02443324). Prof. Herbst explains that as we now know that pembrolizumab and immunotherapy in general works in frontline and second-line, we want to add to this immunotherapy. He further explains that PD-L1 and PD-1 inhibitors block immune checkpoints and the importance of activated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL cells). The hope is that ramucirumab, an inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) can help to drive T-cells into the tumor, inflame it and activate macrophages to kill the tumor; this is the hypothesis that was tested in the trial in patients with locally advanced and unresectable or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma, NSCLC, transitional cell carcinoma of the urothelium, or biliary tract cancer (BTC). He presented on the 27 patients with lung cancer. He explains that is an early single arm trial and that the combination was well-tolerated; activity was seen in 30% of patients with response. He further explains the results that a they need to be confirmed in a larger Phase II or III trial.
Recorded at the 2016 annual meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), held in Copenhagen, Denmark.