Although lung cancer remains the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, the advent of immunotherapy is changing the survival of patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A multitude of clinical trials are evaluating different immune checkpoints inhibitors in this new field of thoracic oncology. At the beginning of the immunotherapy era, nivolumab, pembrolizumab and atezolizumab showed high efficacy in patients with advanced NSCLC in second-line setting, receiving approvals for clinical practice. Nivolumab and atezolizumab are approved independently from programmed death lig and 1 (PD-L1) expression, while pembrolizumab is currently approved only for patients with PD-L1 expression ≥1%. The role of PD-L1 expression acquired more interest considering first-line clinical trials, in which the role of immunotherapy as monotherapy was confirmed only for pembrolizumab in patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%. These data were analysed in this paper, focusing on the implications in clinical practice and how to use them to an accurate clinical benefit of patients with advanced NSCLC. We report a review based on a MEDLINE/PubMed, searched for randomised phase 2/3 trials evaluating immune checkpoint inhibitors and NSCLC, that moved to an approval from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicine Agency (EMA). The evidence discussed in this manuscript and the final therapeutic algorithm, coming out from an International Experts Panel Meeting of the Italian Association of Thoracic Oncology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research