Opdivo® Does Not Improve Outcomes in Newly Diagnosed Lung Cancer


The immunotherapy agent, Opdivo (nivolumab), did not demonstrate an improvement in delaying cancer progression compared to treatment with chemotherapy among patients with newly diagnosed advanced lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which refers to the type of cell from which the cancer originated, is the most common type of lung cancer Researchers are continuously evaluating treatment options that may provide an improvement over standard regimens to improve survival outcomes.

Nivolumab is an agent that is referred to as a checkpoint inhibitor. It stimulates the immune system to recognize cancer cells as foreign, which ultimately results in an attack against the cancer cells.

Nivolumab is currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain types of melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, and advanced lung cancer. Ongoing clinical trials continue to evaluate the potential anti-cancer effects of nivolumab in several types and stages of cancer.

The latest trial, referred to as the checkpoint-026 trial, included 541 patients with advanced NSCLC who had not received any prior therapy for their disease. Patients tested positive for expression of PD-L1, a protein targeted by nivolumab. One group of patients was treated with nivolumab, and the other group was treated with standard chemotherapy.

• Overall, survival time with no progression of cancer was not improved in the group of patients treated with nivolumab, compared to the group treated with chemotherapy.
Although results from this trial did not favor nivolumab compared to chemotherapy, trials will continue to explore optimal treatment with nivolumab, as a single agent or in combination with other agents, in different types of cancers.

Reference: Bristol-Myers Squibb. Press Release. Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Top-Line Results from CheckMate -026, a Phase 3 Study of Opdivo (nivolumab) in Treatment-Naïve Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2016.