HealthDay News — For patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (sq- NSCLC), adding tislelizumab in combination with chemotherapy is associated with improved progression-free survival (PFS), according to a study published online April 1 in JAMA Oncology.

Jie Wang, MD, PhD, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, and colleagues conducted an open-label phase 3 clinical trial at 46 sites in China between July 2018 and June 2019, enrolling patients with treatment-naive, histologically confirmed stage IIIB/IV sq-NSCLC. A total of 355 patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio and received treatment with one of the following regimens: tislelizumab plus paclitaxel and carboplatin (arm A); tislelizumab plus nab-paclitaxel and carboplatin (arm B); or paclitaxel and carboplatin (arm C).

The researchers found that independent review committee (IRC)-assessed PFS was significantly improved with tislelizumab plus chemotherapy (arms A and B) vs chemotherapy alone (arm C) (7.6 and 7.6 months vs 5.5 months; hazard ratios, 0.524 and 0.478 for A vs C and B vs C, respectively) after a median follow-up of 8.6 months. Arms A and B vs C had higher IRC-assessed objective response rate (ORR) and longer IRC-assessed duration of response (72.5%/8.2 months and 74.8%/8.6 months, respectively, vs 49.6%/4.2 months). There was no association noted between tumor programmed death ligand 1 expression and IRC-assessed PFS or ORR. Discontinuation of treatment due to adverse events occurred in 12.5, 29.7, and 15.4% of patients in arms A, B, and C, respectively.

“This represents an additional treatment option as first-line treatment for patients with sq-NSCLC,” the authors write.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to BeiGene, which manufactures tislelizumab and funded the study.

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