Combining immunotherapies for previously untreated lung cancer

7 Sep 2015

An early-stage study shows Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo treatment can be safely and effectively paired with relatively low and infrequent dosages of the company's other immunotherapy, Yervoy, for patients with previously untreated lung cancer, researchers reported.

Opdivo (nivolumab) is approved to treat advanced melanoma and the less-common squamous type of non-small cell lung cancer. In a recent late-stage study, it improved survival compared with chemotherapy in previously treated patients with the more common non-squamous form of lung cancer. Opdivo block a protein called PD-1 whose natural function is to put checks on the immune system.

To bolster the effectiveness of Opdivo, Bristol-Myers is testing it in combination with Yervoy, which is approved to treat melanoma and, like Opdivo, takes the brakes off the immune system.

The study compared results of four available drug regimens

Company researchers released updated data from a Phase I study, called Check Mate-12, which involved 148 previously untreated patients with squamous and non-squamous lung cancer. It compared results of four available drug regimens that paired Opdivo and Yervoy.

In melanoma studies, Opdivo's effectiveness has been greatly enhanced by adding Yervoy, but with a worrisome increase in side effects.


Yervoy, typically taken in 3 milligram doses every three weeks for melanoma, in the lung cancer trial was given at a 1 milligram dose every six weeks in one arm of the study, and at 1 milligram every 12 weeks in another arm. It was taken with 3 milligram doses of Opdivo every two weeks, the way it is used against melanoma and previously treated squamous lung cancer.

“A well tolerated regimen has been achieved”

In particular, the analysis of the clinical results revealed that:

  • Some 39% of patients taking Opdivo plus Yervoy every 12 weeks saw some reduction in tumors, similar to the 31% reduction for those taking Yervoy every 6 weeks.
  • Importantly, 10% or fewer of patients in the two arms dropped out of the study because of side effects, little different from those who have taken Opdivo alone in other study arms and half the dropout rate seen among patients that have taken Opdivo with chemotherapy.

"A well tolerated regimen has been achieved, with ability to maintain the additive benefit of (Yervoy)" to Opdivo, said Michael Giordano, head of Bristol-Myers' immuno-oncology program.

Source: Reuters
Posted almost 5 years ago

Oh - first time I hear about immunotherapy in lung cancer.
Hopeful, hopeful...

Posted almost 5 years ago

Right - the focus is on melanoma. Or actually, it seems to work in melanoma. I think that lung cancer is "next".
I have not heard anything about testicular, either.

Posted almost 5 years ago

Immuno therapies seem to be all over the place.
Still not strong in breast cancer or lymphomas, right?