Gilberto Lopes, MD, MBA, FAMS, on Stopping Immunotherapy in Patients With Lung Cancer

Gilberto Lopes, MD, MBA, FAMS, discussed his presentation about when to stop immunotherapy treatments for patients with lung cancer.

Gilberto Lopes, MD, MBA, FAMS, presented information on when to stop immunotherapy treatments at the 17thAnnual Winter Lung Conference in Miami, Florida. Lopes focused on specific factors such as toxicity and disease progression to determine how long patients with lung cancer should take these drugs.


Today at the 17thWinter Lung Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, I discussed until when we should continue immunotherapy treatments. We discussed that for those patients that are receiving immunotherapy in the stage III setting, we use it for a year because that’s what was established in the pacific trial. For patients who are receiving it for metastatic disease, there are a few general rules.

The main rules are if you have progression of disease or if you have excessive toxicity, you should stop the drugs. If you have a response you can continue for up to 2 years and then we have to have a discussion with the patients. We have to explain what the downsides and upsides of continuing and stopping therapy are. And I tend to try to convince patients to stop, but many patients don’t want to.

Currently, that gives us our current standard, which is we stop for progression or toxicity, and we can continue for 2 years and stop at 2 years with pembrolizumab (Keytruda). For other drugs, we really didn’t have a stop rule in clinical trials, so we tend to continue them until progression or toxicity.