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Cancer Treat Rev. 2020 Apr;85:101979. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2020.101979. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Toxicity management with combination chemotherapy and programmed death 1/programmed death ligand 1 inhibitor therapy in advanced lung cancer.

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University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA. Electronic address:
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Yale University & Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA.



The combination of an anti-programmed death 1 (PD-1) or anti-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) monoclonal antibody with platinum-based chemotherapy can improve outcomes for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) compared with chemotherapy alone. For patients receiving these new treatment regimens, it is important that toxicities be managed effectively. A particular challenge can be determining the etiology of an event, especially when there are overlapping symptoms that can be attributed to either immunotherapy or to platinum-based chemotherapy. Here, we evaluate adverse events (AEs) reported in clinical trials of combination therapy with an anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 (anti-PD-[L]1) immunotherapy and chemotherapy to provide information on toxicity management.


We performed a systematic review of the literature focused on randomized controlled trials of anti-PD-(L)1 therapy combined with platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced/metastatic NSCLC and SCLC.


Eleven reports from 9 randomized studies evaluating pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab combined with platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with advanced lung cancer were identified. Immune-mediated AEs and infusion reactions occurred more commonly in patients who received anti-PD-(L)1 immunotherapy with platinum-based chemotherapy compared with chemotherapy alone; however, there was no evidence of unexpected or unanticipated toxicity with these combinations.


Combinations of anti-PD-(L)1 immunotherapy with platinum-based chemotherapy regimens improve outcomes for patients with NSCLC and SCLC, and toxicity is generally manageable. Strategies for appropriate workup of AEs to allow clinicians to make informed decisions regarding causality and treatment modifications when appropriate are an important element of management of patients receiving an anti-PD-(L)1 agent combined with platinum-based chemotherapy.


Atezolizumab; Nivolumab; Paclitaxel; Pembrolizumab; Pemetrexed; Platinum

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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