The immune boosting drug has shown better results in a trial involving advanced lung cancer patients.
It seems patients with advanced lung cancer have a better treatment option than chemotherapy. A clinical trial recently found the Merck & Co.'s immune boosting drug Keytruda is more effective treatment option for non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) than chemotherapy.
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Such patients have tumor which have not spread to other parts of the body. Patients who had received no prior treatment were given Keytruda instead of chemotherapy and results showed they had a greater chance of survival, compared to chemotherapy.
The results of the study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, found in more than 85 and 90 percent of diagnosed cases. Currently the standard treatment for NSCLC is considered to be chemotherapy, however the survival rate is not very high.
But it all may change with in light of this new evidence. In the trial six months after patients treated were chemotherapy, only 72 percent of them were alive. On the other hand 80 percent of the patients given Keytruda were alive after six months.
Only in 23 percent of patients who experienced chemotherapy had the tumor shrunk, while in 45 percent of patients on Keytruda the tumor had substantially shrunk. Similarly the chemotherapy patients had a greater percentage of side effects compare to those on Keytruda.
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In June 2016 and independent monitoring committee also declared Keytruda is a better way of treatment than chemotherapy. A study of such a nature may be a turning point in the global effort to treat lung cancer, but more data and similar designs are required before it can be widely accepted as a standard.