Patients Receiving Pembrolizumab Report Better Quality of Life Than Those on Chemotherapy

Vienna, Austria—December 7, 2016—Patients in the pembrolizumab arm of the KEYNOTE-024 trial reported better quality of life than patients receiving chemotherapy, according to research presented at the IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Vienna, Austria.


Previous data reported out from KEYNOTE-024 demonstrated that pembrolizumab provided superior progression-free survival and overall survival as compared to chemotherapy as first-line therapy for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer with PD-L1 expression on greater than 50 percent of tumor cells and no sensitizing EGFR or ALK aberrations.


Dr. Julie R. Brahmer, from the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, sought to determine if the positive results from previous KEYNOTE-024 findings would translate into meaningful quality of life gains for patients in the trials. Health-related quality of life is an individual's or a group's perceived physical and mental health over time and is considered an important metric in anti-cancer therapy, particularly in the first-line setting.


Dr. Brahmer and her co-researchers randomized 305 patients to pembrolizumab or chemotherapy plus optional pemetrexed maintenance therapy for non-squamous disease. The key pre-specified exploratory patient-reported end points were change from baseline to week 15 in EORTC QLQ-C30 global health status/quality of life (QoL) score and time to deterioration in an EORTC QLQ-LC13 composite of cough, chest pain, and dyspnea.


The proportion of improved global health status/ QoL score at week 15, defined as a 10-point or greater change from baseline, was 40.0 percent for patients taking pembrolizumab and 26.5 percent for those in the chemotherapy group. Fewer patients in the pembrolizumab arm saw their cough, dyspnea, or chest pain symptoms deteriorate (30 percent versus 39 percent), and time to deterioration in these symptoms was significantly prolonged with pembrolizumab.


“Pembrolizumab was associated with a clinically meaningful improvement in health care quality of life and in the time to deterioration for cough, dyspnea and chest pain compared with platinum-based chemotherapy. Combined with the superior progression-free survival and overall survival rate of patients on pembrolizumab and manageable safety profile, these data suggest pembrolizumab may be a new standard of care for first-line treatment of PD-L1–expressing advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” Dr. Brahmer said.


About the WCLC:

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 6,000 researchers, physicians, and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration, and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. Organized under the theme of “Together Against Lung Cancer,” the conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 5,000 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. Visit for more information.


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Patients Receiving Pembrolizumab Report Better Quality of Life Than Those on Chemotherapy

Patients Receiving Pembrolizumab Report Better Quality of Life Than Those on Chemotherapy


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