Durvalumab monotherapy as a third-line treatment for extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer: a case report

Lung Cancer

Ann Palliat Med. 2020 Jul 20:apm-20-1244. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-1244. Online ahead of print.


The global incidence and mortality rates of lung cancer are the highest of any cancer. Smallcell lung cancer (SCLC) is an undifferentiated carcinoma which accounts for 15-20% of all lung cancers. Compared with the other major lung cancer type, non-small cell lung cancer, SCLC exhibits worse biological behavior, has a higher degree of malignancy, and develops more rapidly. The majority of SCLC present with extensive-stage disease, and the prognosis for these patients remains poor. Recently,

immunotherapy has been demonstrated clinical activity in extensive-stage SCLC (ES-SCLC); however, the efficacy and safety of immunotherapy in ES-SCLC needs further confirmation. Durvalumab, a selective, high-affinity human IgG1 monoclonal antibody that blocks PD-L1 binding to PD-1 and CD80, showed durable clinical activity and a manageable safety profile in patients with pretreated ES-SCLC as a first-line treatment. Here, we report the case of an ES-SCLC patient who achieved complete remission (CR) of local lesions after receiving durvalumab monotherapy as a third-line treatment, experiencing no obvious immune-related side effects, such as rash, diarrhea, fatigue, myelosuppression, or thyroid dysfunction. No immune-related pulmonary or hepatorenal toxicities occurred. The case suggests that immunotherapy can be selected for third-line or multi-line treatment of ES-SCLC, and anti-PD-L1 antibody may be the better choice for patients who have poor performance status (PS) scores.