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Lung Cancer Immunotherapy CME: Shifting the Lung Cancer Treatment Paradigm

A recap of OMedLive’s online CME program, Immunotherapy: Shifting the Lung Cancer Treatment Paradigm, which aired live on November 3rd, 2016.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in most countries. In 2015, the US saw 221,000 new cases of lung cancer (13% of all cancer cases) and 158,040 deaths related to lung cancer, accounting for 27% of all cancer deaths. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer represents 87% of all lung cancer; Immunotherapy for first line treatment of NSCLC is the topic of this CME offering from OMEDLIVE.

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Presented by Dr. Roy S. Herbst and Dr. Naiyer Rizvi, the presentation effectively attains the learning objectives of:

  • Summarizing the underlying principles for immunotherapeutic strategies taking into consideration lung cancer pathophysiology
  • Evaluating the safety and efficacy of available and emerging immunotherapies
  • Determining if or when immunotherapy is appropriate in the first- and second-line settings for patients with metastatic NSCLS
  • Addressing adverse events associated with immunotherapy in lung cancer

The mechanism of immune checkpoint inhibitors is well explained, with attention paid to the key attributes of the immune system; specificity, memory, and adaptation. With immunotherapy, the goal is to block PD-1 or PD-L1 system to reactivate the patient’s immune system. The PD-L1 plays an important role in dampening the anti-tumor immune response.

This transformative therapy has also been shown to be effective to target metastases to the brain which are smaller than 2cm. As early as 2008-2009, successful studies were being done in New Haven using T-Cell immune checkpoints as targets for immunotherapy. Doctors Herbst and Rizvi take some time to discuss the necessity of biomarkers for immunotherapy, as well as how this area of research and treatment is a rapidly changing landscape worthy of further exploration and implementation.

While discussing immunotherapy as a second-line treatment option, the question is raised of the appropriateness of using immunotherapy to treat tumors which have returned after a patient had gone into remission. The conversation around the answer serves as a segue to the topic of combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy for the treatment of NSCLC.

There are several works in process to find the best combinations, and “we still have a lot to learn,” but early studies indicate promising results in progression for survival and overall survival rates.

Both presenters agree it is important for patients to have other specialties such as dermatology, endocrinology, and neurology onto their treatment team since immune-related adverse events can occur at any time along the treatment spectrum and can affect any organ system. It is well noted that early recognition, evaluation, and treatment are critical for patient safety.

For more information and in-depth explanation of the use of Immunotherapy as first-line treatment for NSCLC, please watch “Immunotherapy: Shifting the Lung Cancer Treatment Paradigm” presented by OMEDLIVE.

Disclaimer: All OMEDLIVE articles, reports, summaries, and recaps of events are for informational purposes. The quotes and opinions of the speakers covered are not to be taken as direct advice for individual patients. Patients should always seek care from qualified, properly accredited healthcare professionals.

This program has completed – to find current and upcoming programs, please visit OMEDLIVE

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