This prespecified subanalysis of the global, randomized controlled phase III KEYNOTE-024 study of pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy in previously untreated metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer without EGFR/ALK alterations and a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score of 50% or greater evaluated clinical outcomes among patients enrolled in Japan. Treatment consisted of pembrolizumab 200 mg every 3 weeks (35 cycles) or platinum-based chemotherapy (four to six cycles). The primary end-point was progression-free survival; secondary end-points included overall survival and safety. Of 305 patients randomized in KEYNOTE-024 overall, 40 patients were enrolled in Japan (all received treatment: pembrolizumab, n = 21; chemotherapy, n = 19). The hazard ratio (HR) for progression-free survival by independent central review (data cut-off date, 10 July 2017) was 0.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.10-0.64; one-sided, nominal P = .001). The HR for overall survival (data cut-off date, 15 February 2019) was 0.39 (95% CI, 0.17-0.91; one-sided, nominal P = .012). Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 21/21 (100%) pembrolizumab-treated and 18/19 (95%) chemotherapy-treated patients; eight patients (38%) and nine patients (47%), respectively, had grade 3-5 events. Immune-mediated adverse events and infusion reactions occurred in 11 patients (52%) and four patients (21%), respectively; four patients (19%) and one patient (5%), respectively, had grade 3-5 events. Consistent with results from KEYNOTE-024 overall, first-line pembrolizumab improved progression-free survival and overall survival vs chemotherapy with manageable safety among Japanese patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer without EGFR/ALK alterations and a PD-L1 tumor proportion score of 50% or greater. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02142738.
Keywords: Japan; PD-L1 protein; non-small-cell lung carcinoma; pembrolizumab; treatment outcome.
© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.