Treatment with the immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) yielded durable responses in some patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with a five-year survival rate of 16 percent, according to data presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting in Washington DC this week.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and worldwide. Once lung cancer has spread to distant sites in the body and has stopped responding to prior therapies, current standard treatment options are aimed at improving duration of survival and maintaining quality of life.
Opdivo is an agent that stimulates the patient’s immune system to help fight the cancer cells. Opdivo blocks a molecule referred to as PD-1, which is involved in suppressing the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells. Through blocking the effects of PD-1, Opdivo restores the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack cancer cells.
This study shows that for a small subset of patients, immunotherapy may work for a very long time. The five-year overall survival rate reported in this study is 3 to 4 times higher than what is reported for NSCLC patients historically.
Of the 16 patients who survived for five years or longer, nine were male, and 12 were current smokers when they enrolled in the trial. Twelve had a partial response, and two patients each had stable disease and progressive disease as best response to treatment. Eight patients completed the two-year treatment without any side effects, and four stopped treatment early due to side effects. None of these 12 patients required further treatment. ,
Reference: Brahmer J, Horn L, Jackman D, et al. Five-year follow-up from the CA209-003 study of nivolumab in previously treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): Clinical characteristics of long-term survivors. Abstract CT077. Presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the AACR, Washington, DC. April 1-5, 2017.
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