Immunotherapy improves survival by almost 30% in the most aggressive breast cancer

Immunotherapy improves survival by almost 30% in the most aggressive breast cancer

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The addition of an immunotherapy drugpembrolizumab, to first-line chemotherapy improves overall survival by 27% of patients with a type of advanced triple negative breast canceraccording to the updated results of a study led by the International Breast Cancer Center (IBCC).

This center leads the international study KEYNOTE-355, whose latest results are published this Thursday by the scientific journal The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

latest data corroborate that the addition of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab to first-line chemotherapy improves the overall survival of patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer with PD-L1 expression (a biomarker that indicates that the defenses are slowed down) by 27%.

Against the worst prognosis of breast cancer

The first results of this study, led by the director of the IBCC, Javier Cortés, were presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting (ASCO 2020).

Subsequently, at the congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO Congress 2021), more mature overall survival datawhich led to approval by the European Medicines Agency in October 2021.

“This is very relevant news because triple negative breast cancer is currently the one with the worst prognosis and one of the subtypes in which oncologists are most interested in finding new therapies that improve the survival and quality of life of our patients”, Cortés highlighted.

Triple negative breast cancer – it is so known because cells do not contain estrogen or progesterone receptors nor do they produce excess HER2 protein- represents about 15% of all breast tumors that are diagnosed.

It is a very aggressive tumor subtype that spreads rapidly and has the worst overall survival rates when the patient is in the advanced stage of the disease.

The phase III KEYNOTE-355 study has been carried out in 209 centers in 29 countries and has included a total of 847 patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer regardless of whether or not they expressed the PD-L1 biomarker.

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After a follow-up of 44.1 months, the latest data from the KEYNOTE-355 study have shown that add pembrolizumab to chemotherapy treatment statistically significantly increases overall survival by almost 7 months in patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer with PD-L1 expression.

The median overall survival for patients who received chemotherapy and pembrolizumab was 23 months, compared with 16.1 months in the group that received chemotherapy plus placebo.

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