Five Year Survival Update From KEYNOTE-010: Pembrolizumab Versus Docetaxel for Previously Treated, Programmed Death-Ligand 1-Positive Advanced NSCLC

J Thorac Oncol. 2021 Oct;16(10):1718-1732. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2021.05.001. Epub 2021 May 26.


Introduction: In the KEYNOTE-010 study, pembrolizumab improved overall survival (OS) versus docetaxel in patients with previously treated, advanced NSCLC with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥50% and ≥1%. We report 5-year efficacy and safety follow-up for the KEYNOTE-010 study.

Methods: Patients were randomized to pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg once every 3 weeks or docetaxel 75 mg/m2 once every 3 weeks for up to 35 cycles (2 y). Patients who completed pembrolizumab treatment and subsequently had recurrence could receive second-course pembrolizumab for up to 17 cycles (1 y). Pembrolizumab doses were pooled in this analysis.

Results: A total of 1034 patients were randomized (pembrolizumab, n = 691; docetaxel, n = 343). Median study follow-up was 67.4 months (range: 60.0‒77.9). The hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for OS was 0.55 (0.44‒0.69) for patients with PD-L1 TPS ≥50% and 0.70 (0.61‒0.80) with PD-L1 TPS ≥1%. The 5-year OS rates for pembrolizumab versus docetaxel were 25.0% versus 8.2% in patients with PD-L1 TPS ≥50% and 15.6% versus 6.5% with PD-L1 TPS ≥1%. Among 79 patients who completed 35 cycles/2 years of pembrolizumab, the OS rate 3 years after completion (∼5 y from randomization) was 83.0%. A total of 21 patients received second-course pembrolizumab; 11 (52.4%) had an objective response after starting the second course and 15 (71.4%) were alive at data cutoff. Exploratory biomarker analysis revealed that higher tissue tumor mutational burden (≥175 mutations per exome) was associated with improved outcomes with pembrolizumab.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab continued to provide long-term benefit than docetaxel in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC with PD-L1 TPS ≥50% and ≥1%. Our findings confirm pembrolizumab as a standard-of-care treatment in the second-line or later setting.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Non‒small-cell lung cancer; PD-L1; Pembrolizumab.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / therapeutic use
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Docetaxel* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Docetaxel
  • pembrolizumab