Tepotinib is in clinical development for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumours have alterations in the MET gene. Advanced/metastatic (stage IV) NSCLC is when the cancer has spread to other organs most often to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones and the brain. NSCLC is called locally advanced when it has spread into tissues around the lungs. Symptoms of NSCLC include fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, coughing up phlegm, mucus or blood and chest pain. Most patients with metastatic NSCLC are diagnosed at the late stage where curative treatment with surgery is unsuitable. Currently, chemotherapy remains the main first line treatment option at this stage and is often not well tolerated by many patients.
Tepotinib is given as film coated tablets and it is a highly selective blocker of the protein c-MET which plays a key role in cell survival, growth and invasion. Tepotinib may help to induce death in tumour cells which overexpress c-MET. If licensed, tepotinib will offer an additional treatment option for patients with untreated stage IIIB/IV squamous or non-squamous 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.