Lenvatinib in addition to pembrolizumab is in clinical development for the treatment of adults with treatment-naive, metastatic, stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with Programmed cell Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in at least 1% of tumour cells. NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK. Stage IV (advanced/metastatic) NSCLC is when the cancer has spread beyond the lung that 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. While current treatments exist for advanced NSCLC, significant unmet medical need remains for more effective treatment options with manageable safety profiles for patients in the first line setting.
Lenvatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets several different growth factor receptors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFR) and fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR). By blocking these receptors, lenvatinib can reduce tumour growth. Pembrolizumab is a drug that works by improving the activity of white blood cells in killing cancer cells by blocking a protein, PD-L1. If licenced, lenvatinib (administered orally) in addition to pembrolizumab (administered intravenously) could provide an additional treatment option for adults with PD-L1 positive NSCLC.