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

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

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

latest data substantiate that the addition of the immunotherapeutic 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 IBCC Director Javier Cortés, were presented at the 2020 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO 2020).

Subsequently, during the congress of the European Society of 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 currently has 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 emphasized.

Triple negative breast cancer – it is so famous because cells do not contain estrogen or progesterone receptors nor do they produce excess HER2 protein – accounts for about 15% of all diagnosed breast tumours.

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

The KEYNOTE-355 phase III study was conducted in 209 centers in 29 countries and included a total of 847 patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer, 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 showed that adding 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.

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

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