The new findings, based off an analysis of the Flatiron Health database that includes aggregated, de-identified data from the electronic health records of more than 65,000 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, provide much-needed guidance to treat a disease that has a five-year survival of just 35 percent.
"This is a prime example of how real-world data can complement clinical trial data to help inform decision making between patients and their oncologists," said senior author Ronac Mamtani, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Oncologists have several options to treat patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and high levels of the immune biomarker known as PD-L1, including checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab or atezolizumab, which block different proteins, like PD-1 and PDL-1, that keep T cells from killing cancer cells. The therapy has changed the treatment landscape for many cancers, including lung, and is often paired with chemotherapies; however, which treatments or combination of treatments are best suited for patients with the KRAS mutation has been unclear.
"Many of the treatment decisions for these patients are imperfect and non-data driven, with no biomarkers to help guide them," said first author Lova Sun, MD, a fellow in the division of Hematology-Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine.. "This study shows us an important piece of the molecular data, which is something the field hasn't had."