In a nutshell
This study looked at 5-year outcomes of patients with previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) taking nivolumab (Opdivo) compared to docetaxel (Taxotere). The authors found that nivolumab continued to improve the outcomes of these patients after 5 years.
NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer. NSCLC is responsible for around 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses. Treatment for NSCLC is chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgical removal of tumors. Despite this, NSCLC can be difficult to treat especially when it is resistant to treatment and has spread beyond the lung tumor.
Nivolumab is an immunotherapy that has been approved to treat NSCLC. It blocks PD1, a protein found on cancer cells that can stop the immune system from killing cancer cells. Nivolumab turns on the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. Docetaxel is an important chemotherapy agent used for the treatment of advanced NSCLC. Previous studies have shown that nivolumab improves the survival of patients with NSCLC compared to docetaxel. However, the long-term safety and effectiveness of nivolumab versus docetaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC are unknown.
Methods & findings
This study analyzed data from 2 clinical trials. Overall, 854 patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC. They were treated with either nivolumab or docetaxel. Follow-up was on average 69.4-69.5 months.
After 5 years, overall survival was significantly higher in the nivolumab group (13.4%) versus the docetaxel group (2.6%). Nivolumab was associated with a 32% higher chance of survival compared to docetaxel. These benefits were the same for patients with different types of NSCLC, different percentages of PD-1 protein on cancer cells, and different places where the cancer has spread.
Also, significantly more patients in the nivolumab group were alive without cancer worsening after 5 years (8%) versus 0% in the docetaxel group. In the nivolumab group, patients without disease worsening after 2 years had an 82% chance of not having disease progression after 5 years. In the docetaxel group, patients who did not have cancer worsening after 2 years, had a 0% chance of not having cancer worsening after 5 years.
No new side effects were reported after 5 years in the nivolumab group.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that after 5 years, nivolumab continues to improve the outcomes of previously treated patients with advanced NSCLC.
The fine print
This study was sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb, the manufacturers of nivolumab.
Published By :
Journal of clinical oncology
Jan 15, 2021