“This has been a landmark year for lung cancer- immunotherapy has replaced chemotherapy as first line therapy for patients with advanced lung cancer whose tumors express a particular marker (roughly 30% of patients). Approval came after a clinical trial demonstrated improved efficacy and less toxicity with immunotherapy than chemotherapy. Benefit though is not limited to lung cancer patients, with immunotherapies currently approved for 7 different cancers (and more to come).

We have clearly entered a new era of cancer care, one which will increasingly rely on one’s own immune system to attack, control and potentially cure advanced cancer. Indeed, we have seen prolonged ongoing responses in several patients, long after stopping immunotherapy. Things have moved relatively quickly, with the first lung cancer specific trial evaluating these newer immunotherapies starting only 7 years ago. Since then, three immunotherapy agents have been approved for use in advanced lung cancer, with some patients from the first trial still doing well without evidence of active disease, 6 to 7 years after initiating immunotherapy (4 to 5 years after completing immunotherapy without subsequent therapy).

We and other researchers continue to work to understand mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to immunotherapies, and to develop novel therapies for our patients based on emerging discoveries. There is no doubt that an increasing number of patients with advanced malignances will live longer and better as we proceed into this new era.” – Dr. Scott N. Gettinger, M.D.

About the Foundation

Founded by the family of Melissa Marottoli Hogan to honor her life, the MMH Foundation seeks to support ground-breaking lung cancer research, to promote lung cancer awareness, and to provide assistance to lung cancer afflicted families. The Foundation donates all net proceeds, has no paid staff, and enlists the help of sponsors and volunteers to promote the cause of finding a cure. The MMH Foundation achieved 501(c)(3) status in 2014.