Five-Year Outcomes With Pembrolizumab Versus Chemotherapy for Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer With PD-L1 Tumor Proportion Score ≥ 50

Martin Reck, Delvys Rodríguez-Abreu, Andrew G. Robinson, Rina Hui, Tibor Csőszi, Andrea Fülöp, Maya Gottfried, Nir Peled, Ali Tafreshi, Sinead Cuffe, Mary O'Brien, Suman Rao, Katsuyuki Hotta, Ticiana A. Leal, Jonathan W. Riess, Erin Jensen, Bin Zhao, M. Catherine Pietanza, Julie R. Brahmer

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340 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: We report the first 5-year follow-up of any first-line phase III immunotherapy trial for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). KEYNOTE-024 ( identifier: NCT02142738) is an open-label, randomized controlled trial of pembrolizumab compared with platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with previously untreated NSCLC with a programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score of at least 50% and no sensitizing EGFR or ALK alterations. Previous analyses showed pembrolizumab significantly improved progression-free survival and overall survival (OS). METHODS: Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to pembrolizumab (200 mg once every 3 weeks for up to 35 cycles) or platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients in the chemotherapy group with progressive disease could cross over to pembrolizumab. The primary end point was progression-free survival; OS was a secondary end point. RESULTS: Three hundred five patients were randomly assigned: 154 to pembrolizumab and 151 to chemotherapy. Median (range) time from randomization to data cutoff (June 1, 2020) was 59.9 (55.1-68.4) months. Among patients initially assigned to chemotherapy, 99 received subsequent anti-PD-1 or PD-L1 therapy, representing a 66.0% effective crossover rate. Median OS was 26.3 months (95% CI, 18.3 to 40.4) for pembrolizumab and 13.4 months (9.4-18.3) for chemotherapy (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.48 to 0.81). Kaplan-Meier estimates of the 5-year OS rate were 31.9% for the pembrolizumab group and 16.3% for the chemotherapy group. Thirty-nine patients received 35 cycles (ie, approximately 2 years) of pembrolizumab, 82.1% of whom were still alive at data cutoff (approximately 5 years). Toxicity did not increase with longer treatment exposure. CONCLUSION: Pembrolizumab provides a durable, clinically meaningful long-term OS benefit versus chemotherapy as first-line therapy for metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 tumor proportion score of at least 50%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2339-2349
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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