Why a targeted therapy is better than immunotherapy for some patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer

Feb. 19, 2024
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation, tends not to respond well to immunotherapy treatments, including durvalumab.

Yale Cancer Center (YCC) researchers recently reported in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology that the targeted therapy osimertinib, when administered after chemotherapy and radiation, is associated with significantly improved progression-free survival (living without the cancer worsening).

The retrospective study, using data from 2015 through 2022, involved 136 stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation. Researchers compared the survival outcomes achieved after taking durvalumab, osimertinib, or neither treatment (i.e. observation alone) after chemotherapy and radiation. They discovered that 86% of patients being treated with osimertinib lived at least two years without the disease worsening. This was significantly higher than patients who were treated with durvalumab (30%) and patients who took neither treatment (27%).

There were severe side effects associated with only 6% of patients treated with osimertinib, compared with 18% of patients treated with durvalumab. The most common side effect was pneumonitis, but researchers found no unexpected safety risks during the study.

Yale Cancer Center release on Newswise

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