Recent FDA-Approved Drugs Offer More Options for NSCLC and Other Cancers

March 28, 2017 by Kathleen Wiley RN, MSN, AOCNS®

The end of 2016 proved to be a busy and exciting time for cancer breakthroughs, seeing eight new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for immunotherapy and biotherapy. Following is a summary of cancer-related FDA approvals in the last quarter of 2016, indications for treatment, and associated clinical implications.

Nivolumab for renal cell carcinoma, metastatic melanoma, and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Erlotinib for NLCLC with specific tumor mutations

Atezolizumab for metastatic NSCLC with progression after platinum-based chemotherapy

Olaratumab for soft tissue sarcoma

Pembrolizumab for metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 expression

Nivolumab for metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma with progression on or after platinum-based therapy

Daratumumab for multiple myeloma after one prior therapy

Rucaparib for advanced ovarian cancer with BRCA mutation

Many of the approvals involved agents that had already been approved for antineoplastic use, but clinical data indicated that modifications are necessary to allow for the most therapeutic responses. Many approved agents see different doses and schedules based on clinical indication, emphasizing the need for oncology nurses to independently verify orders match recommended dosing based on indication and treatment regimen. The nomenclature and mechanism of action of these immunotherapy and biotherapy agents offer nurses vital insight into expected adverse events.

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