The following article features coverage from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

In the recent phase 3 PACIFIC trial, durvalumab significantly improved progression-free survival and overall survival of patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who did not have disease progression after chemoradiotherapy. However, patients who received durvalumab had a higher incidence of pneumonitis or radiation pneumonitis compared with patients who received a placebo (39% vs. 24.8%).

In a new substudy, researchers found that the benefits of durvalumab on progression-free survival and overall survival vs placebo are still maintained regardless of the occurrence of pneumonitis. These study results were presented at the ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

Patients with stage III NSCLC who received more than 2 cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy were randomized 1 to 42 days following chemotherapy into 2 groups. One group received durvalumab at 10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks for 12 months; the other group received a placebo. A total of 713 patients were randomized, 709 of whom received treatment.

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The researchers assessed the impact of pneumonitis on treatment efficacy using Cox proportional hazards models and univariate analysis. When adjusted for the occurrence of time-dependent pneumonitis, no difference in overall survival, progression-free survival, and time to death or distant metastasis were observed compared with an intention-to-treat (ITT) population. The researchers concluded, “These findings suggest that low-grade pneumonitis should not deter use of durvalumab.”


Vansteenkiste JF, Naidoo J, Faivre-Finn C, et al. Efficacy of durvalumab in patients with stage III NSCLC who experience pneumonitis (PACIFIC). Presented at: ESMO Congress 2019; September 27-October 1, 2019; Barcelona, Spain. Abstract 1459PD.