In The Know: Analyst answers — Immuno-Oncology in NSCLC

Immuno-Oncology (IO) is revolutionising the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and PD-(L)1 inhibitors have provided physicians a new therapeutic option to improve clinical outcomes for a condition still characterised by high unmet needs. Investigating how oncologists use IO to treat NSCLC today, what challenges they face and how the category is set to evolve in the future, we spoke to FirstWord executive editor Simon King to touch upon key insights from recent research based on a survey of 200 oncologists.

FirstWord: What makes IO an important area for pharmaceutical companies right now and why is it essential for those with an interest in the sector to understand the physician perspective?

Simon King: In recent years there has been a huge investment from pharma in IO thanks to its significant clinical promise with particular focus on the PD-(L)1 inhibitor class. The speed at which pharma companies are running new clinical trials, submitting their data to regulators and gaining approvals is unprecedented, particularly in NSCLC. Therefore, it is important to understand how quickly oncologists are changing their practice in response to these new clinical data.

 

FW: Who would benefit most from the analysis provided in this report?

SK: Arguably, any company involved in IO (regardless of indication) can benefit from this research, but specifically those with an interest in NSCLC. Some of today’s key players include: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche and Sanofi.

 

FW: Were there any significant differences in response across the different segments surveyed e.g. medical specialties, geographical regions?

SK: We’ve found that US physicians typically have more experience with recent IO-based regimens, as the FDA has acted exceptionally fast to approve these versus their European counterparts. Though feedback indicates that European oncologists are eager to adopt newly approved regimens quickly where access permits.

 

FW: What were some of the most notable findings from this research?

SK: Most oncologists say that use of PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors to treat NSCLC in a real-world setting have exceeded their prior expectations based on clinical study results. The report also confirms that Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi brands have quickly built out leadership stakes as a broadly used agent in the metastatic setting and practice-changing therapy in unresectable Stage III patients, respectively.

Other interesting findings include the anticipated impact of recently announced clinical study results on future potential utilisation of marketed PD-(L)1 inhibitor brands; the impact that first-line metastatic use is having on second-line treatment, and oncologist attitudes to the emerging concept of tumour mutation burden (TMB) testing.

 

To learn more about this recent research, click here.

 

 

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