Durvalumab in addition to chemotherapy is in clinical development for stage 4 nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK. Stage 4 (advanced/metastatic) NSCLC is when the cancer has spread beyond the lung which was initially affected, most often to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones and the brain. Most patients with NSCLC are diagnosed at the advanced/metastatic stage where curative treatment with surgery is unsuitable. Currently, chemotherapy remains the first line treatment option but this is often not well tolerated by many patients.
Durvalumab is given through intravenous infusion. It is a form of immunotherapy that works by increasing T-cell activity in order to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells. Durvalumab is already licensed in the UK for the treatment of a different form of NSCLC. Durvalumab may be more effective than chemotherapy alone which is the current standard of care and may offer an additional treatment option for patients with NSCLC.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.