Purpose: In KEYNOTE-189, first-line pembrolizumab plus pemetrexed-platinum significantly improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with placebo plus pemetrexed-platinum in patients with metastatic nonsquamous non‒small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), irrespective of tumor programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression. We report an updated analysis from KEYNOTE-189 (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02578680).
Methods: Patients were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive pemetrexed and platinum plus pembrolizumab (n = 410) or placebo (n = 206) every 3 weeks for 4 cycles, then pemetrexed maintenance plus pembrolizumab or placebo for up to a total of 35 cycles. Eligible patients with disease progression in the placebo-combination group could cross over to pembrolizumab monotherapy. Response was assessed per RECIST (version 1.1) by central review. No alpha was assigned to this updated analysis.
Results: As of September 21, 2018 (median follow-up, 23.1 months), the updated median (95% CI) OS was 22.0 (19.5 to 25.2) months in the pembrolizumab-combination group versus 10.7 (8.7 to 13.6) months in the placebo-combination group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.56; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.70]). Median (95% CI) PFS was 9.0 (8.1 to 9.9) months and 4.9 (4.7 to 5.5) months, respectively (HR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.58). Median (95% CI) time from randomization to objective tumor progression on next-line treatment or death from any cause, whichever occurred first (progression-free-survival-2; PFS-2) was 17.0 (15.1 to 19.4) months and 9.0 (7.6 to 10.4) months, respectively (HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.59). OS and PFS benefits with pembrolizumab were observed regardless of PD-L1 expression or presence of liver/brain metastases. Incidence of grade 3-5 adverse events was similar in the pembrolizumab-combination (71.9%) and placebo-combination (66.8%) groups.
Conclusion: First-line pembrolizumab plus pemetrexed-platinum continued to demonstrate substantially improved OS and PFS in metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, regardless of PD-L1 expression or liver/brain metastases, with manageable safety and tolerability.