New drug combo could improve survival in lung cancer

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Scientists from Cedars-Sinai found that people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer lived much longer when treated with a combination of ramucirumab (Cyramza) plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda).

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and was conducted by Karen Reckamp et al.

Pembrolizumab is one of a class of immunotherapy drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), and ramucirumab is a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) inhibitor, a class of drugs that block an enzyme needed to form blood vessels.

In the study, the team examined 136 patients with stage IV or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer. These patients had been previously treated with ICIs.

In all cases, patients’ tumors eventually became resistant to these drugs and grew or spread.

Treatment on the trial’s control arm was chosen by the physician and patient from among a set of four standard chemotherapy options: docetaxel plus ramucirumab, docetaxel alone, gemcitabine, or pemetrexed.

About two-thirds of patients on standard therapy received docetaxel and ramucirumab as the most active therapy approved in this setting.

The team found people lived much longer when treated with a combination of ramucirumab (Cyramza) plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda) than when treated with one of the current standard therapies for this type of cancer.

Side effects related to the treatment were recorded in 42 percent of the patients on the ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab arm and in 60 percent of patients on the standard treatment.

These results suggest a new treatment method that may help people with lung cancer live longer. Larger studies are needed to verify the findings.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about how COVID-19 damages lungs, and how to take care of your lungs during COVID and beyond.

For more information about lung health, please see recent studies about vaping marijuana linked to more lung damage, and results showing this newly approved drug can effectively fight lung cancer.

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