Expert Point of View: Ashish Saxena, MD, PhD

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Ashish Saxena, MD, PhD

Ashish Saxena, MD, PhD

After the data were presented, Ashish Saxena, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and Assistant Attending Physician at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, weighed in on the CA209-003 study.

“The results of this trial are exciting and give hope to patients with a historically poor prognosis. Granted, clinical trials can select for healthier patients, and it would be good to reproduce these results in a larger cohort. Nevertheless, the findings support the idea that some people can achieve very durable disease control with immunotherapy. These results can be discussed with patients when they are confronted with the life-altering diagnosis of advanced non–small cell lung cancer,” Dr. ­Saxena commented.

“For first-line therapy, pembrolizumab [Keytruda] is currently approved for patients who have high expression of [programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)], though in the second-line setting, some checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab [Opdivo] are approved without the need for PD-L1 testing. We often think of this group of checkpoint inhibitors as a class with similar mechanisms of action, so we would hope that the results presented here with nivolumab would also apply to other PD‑L1 checkpoint inhibitor therapies,” Dr. Saxena said. “We do need better biomarkers for these therapies, however, beyond PD-L1 expression,” Dr. Saxena said. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Saxena has served on advisory boards for Genentech, Lilly Oncology, Clovis Oncology, and Takeda and as a consultant for Takeda and Guardant Health.

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