Pembrolizumab in combination with olaparib for treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer
Pembrolizumab in combination with olaparib is in clinical development for the treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK and squamous NSCLC is where the cancer begins in the flat cells that cover the surface of the airway. Metastatic (advanced) NSCLC refers to when the cancer has spread from the lung to other parts of the body most often to the brain, bones, liver, and adrenal glands. Advanced squamous NSCLC is not usually curable and currently there are currently limited treatment options available for these patients.
Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy drug given by intravenous (IV) infusion and works by blocking a protein called PD-L1, which results in an increased ability of the patient’s immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. Olaparib is taken orally and belongs to a class of drugs called poly-ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) which increase the anti-cancer effect of immunotherapy drugs. The combined effect of both treatments may offer improved therapeutic benefits and an acceptable safety profile and if licenced, will offer an additional therapy option for metastatic squamous NSCLC patients.