Martin Reck, MD, PhD
Department of Thoracic Oncology
Airway Research Center North,
German Center of Lung Research
Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf
As in 2020, the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was held online, with both the scientific and education programs taking place on June 4-8. Among more than 2,500 abstracts presented, findings in the area of lung cancer made for exiting news. Immune checkpoint inhibition has been moving forward in the continuum of care across the treatment lines and is now defining new standards in early-stage lung cancer. In patients who underwent complete resection, the IMpower010 trial established PD-L1 inhibition as a new adjuvant option in stage II-IIIA, PD-L1–expressing NSCLC. Previously, based on the PACIFIC study, another PD-L1 inhibitor has already transformed the treatment of patients with unresectable stage III tumors responding to chemoradiation. Here, the updated results have revealed lasting benefits.
tyrosine kinase inhibitors but also antiangiogenic agents, with a view to creating an immunosupportive tumor microenvironment.
Moreover, small-cell lung cancer is being increasingly characterized at the molecular level, with differential expression of genes and biomarkers possibly informing therapeutic vulnerabilities in the future. For the time being, innovative strategies such as bispecific T-cell engager therapies are tested in patients with relapsed SCLC who have a high unmet medical need. While the armamentarium is being refined to improve efficacy and tolerability at the individual patient level, we hope to meet again at future conferences to hear about breakthroughs that will further advance daily patient care.