March 4, 2021
Could durvalumab (brand name: Imfinzi) be a cure?
- Survival time in patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC have hovered at around two years
- In the PACIFIC trial, about half of patients who received durvalumab after chemoradiation survived for four years
- Durvalumab following chemoradiation has become the new standard of care for this patient population
Nearly one-third of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) present at stage III, most with unresectable tumors. Treatments up to now have had limited success with these patients, who have faced a median survival time of approximately two years. Thanks to durvalumab (brand name: Imfinzi), the outlook is finally looking up.
The PACIFIC trial — a large, randomized phase three study of the checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab versus placebo after chemoradiation in patients with stage III unresectable NSCLC — demonstrated a dramatic overall survival and progression-free survival benefit, with an estimated half of patients surviving four years.
“The PACIFIC study has been a major breakthrough,” Dr. Balazs Halmos, medical oncologist and director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at Montefiore Medical Center, tells SurvivorNet Connect. As time progresses and additional updates are released, the results seem “more and more impressive,” he adds.
“Since the treatment stretches only two years, maintaining that overall survival benefit at four years should mean that ultimately we are curing patients,” Dr. Halmos says.
Thanks to these positive outcomes, durvalumab following chemoradiation has become the new standard of care for the large group of patients with nonresectable stage III NSCLC. “It’s so nice to see that thousands of them now will have a chance for a cure as the result of this new intervention, which can be given with relatively limited toxicity for most of our patients,” he adds.