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22.10.2018 | short review | Ausgabe 4/2018 Open Access

memo - Magazine of European Medical Oncology 4/2018

ASCO 2018 NSCLC highlights—combination therapy is key

memo - Magazine of European Medical Oncology > Ausgabe 4/2018
Gabriele Gamerith, Florian Kocher, Jakob Rudzki, MD, PhD Priv.-Doz. Andreas Pircher


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment was booming at this year’s ASCO 2018 meeting as several well-performed phase III trials with practice-changing potential were presented. Thereby immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) consolidated its major role in the treatment of NSCLC patients without genetic alterations and extended its use by showing impressive data on ICB combination therapies (mainly combined with chemotherapy). Furthermore the role of predictive biomarkers for ICB therapy (Programmed death-ligand 1 [PD-L1] expression, tumor mutational burden [TMB] testing and others) have been further developed and blood-based tests were presented with promising data revealing the potential of this minimally invasive method for treatment monitoring and guidance in the future. Nevertheless the best biomarker is still elusive and future research is ongoing and might be a multimodal approach combining different modalities. No major studies concerning new genetic alterations or innovative targets were presented and the focus in genetic driven NSCLC was the evaluation of combinational approaches (e.g. in epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] mutation positve patients, EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor [TKI] plus anti-angiogenic agent or chemotherapy backbone). The presented results showed some benefit for the combinational approach; however toxicity might be an issue and further validation is necessary. Summarizing, ASCO 2018 showed that combinational approaches will be the future standard treatment in NSCLC and that biomarker identification is more heterogeneous and complex than anticipated, but presented next generation techniques may pave the way to a more personalized cancer therapy.

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