JOURNAL ARTICLE
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The role of pembrolizumab in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Giuseppe Santabarbara, Paolo Maione, Antonio Rossi, Giovanni Palazzolo, Cesare Gridelli
Annals of Translational Medicine 2016, 4 (11): 215
27386489
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death cancer related worldwide. The standard therapies have unmet medical needs both due to the limited activity and relevant toxicity of platinum-based chemotherapy and to the low frequency of specific alterations required to use targeted therapies. Immune checkpoint inhibition due to restoring the immune system's capacity to eradicate tumors is undergoing in extensive investigation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as a new treatment approach. Programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) and its ligand, programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) have recently led to significantly and durable improvements in the clinical outcome of several kind of tumors including lung cancer. Pembrolizumab, approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of advanced NSCLC progressed after other therapies and with expression of PD-L1, has demonstrated durable response and prolonged overall survival (OS) especially in patients with high PD-L1 expression. Further investigation are needed to improve treatment outcomes through combination of immunotherapy or combined with other targeted therapies.

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