People who respond well to first-line immunotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) may be able to safely stop treatment after two years.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized lung cancer treatment, but the optimal duration of therapy is unknown. Some patients may stay on the drugs longer than necessary, adding to side effects and cost.

Lova Sun, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,091 adults who received a checkpoint inhibitor as initial therapy and were still on treatment without disease progression two years later. Patients who discontinued immunotherapy at that point and those who continued treatment indefinitely had similar survival rates after two more years of follow-up (79% and 81%, respectively).

“We hope this data provides reassurance that stopping treatment at two years is a valid treatment strategy that does not seem to compromise overall survival,” Sun said.