Soon a vaccine against lung cancer?


  • In 2018, 46,363 new cases of lung cancer were identified (in 31,231 men and 15,132 women).
  • Median age at diagnosis: 67 years for men, 65 years for women.

A vaccine has shown promising results in the fight against lung cancer, according to the Phase III Atalante study presented by Gustave-Roussy at the ESMO congress.

For patients with treatment failure

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for more than 85% of lung cancers and is the leading cause of cancer death in men. To treat metastatic forms of these cancers, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are traditionally offered to patients. But “for patients who fail in treatment, one is quite helpless, having only chemotherapy as an option (most of the time docetaxel). This justifies the search for new solutions, combining several immunotherapies, or imagining new modalities of immunotherapy, of which the OSE-2101 vaccine is part, studied in the Atalante trial, ”explains Pr Besse, oncologist, lung cancer specialist, Gustave Roussy clinical research director and lead author of the Atalante study.

Results from a phase II study previously showed prolonged disease control in a quarter of patients injected subcutaneously with the OSE-21 vaccine. Those in phase III confirm the advantage of this treatment over chemotherapy alone. “The benefit refers to patients who have received at least 3 months of immunotherapy,” observes Professor Benjamin Besse. In this group, the benefit of treatment was not measured in tumor size reduction (8% in the vaccine group versus 18% in the chemotherapy group) but in prolonged disease control, with a gain in median survival of 3.6 months in the vaccine group.

Better life quality

We also observed toxicities twice less serious than with chemotherapy ”, adds the specialist. Side effects are also less than with immunotherapy, being mainly limited to those expected with any vaccine: injection site reaction (39%), fever (19%), and arthralgia (11%). “However, this treatment appears to be effective, with better tolerance than chemotherapy, in a given population ”, concludes Professor Besse.

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