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BMS' Opdivo bests chemotherapy in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Published on 02/10/19 at 10:58am

Bristol-Myers Squibb took the opportunity at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2019 Annual Congress to present new Phase 3 data on its blockbuster immunotherapy Opdivo (nivolumab) in the treatment of unresectable advanced or recurrent oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) refractory or intolerant to combination therapy with fluoropyrimidine and platinum-based drugs.

Opdivo was shown to extend overall survival by 23% compared to docetaxel or paclitaxel chemotherapy, meeting the trial’s primary endpoint. Additionally, the therapy was shown to improve median overall survival by 10.9 months, a 2.5-month improvement over chemotherapy.

Furthermore, the data revealed that Opdivo patients showed overall survival rates of 47% at 12 months and 31% at 18 months, compared to 34% and 21% respectively with chemotherapy, with survival benefit observed regardless of tumour PD-L1 expression levels.

While objective responses rates were similar, with 19% for Opdivo and 22% for chemo, BMS’ drug was shown to increase the median duration of response by 6.9 months compared to 3.9 months with chemo.

“The significant survival benefit coupled with the favourable safety profile and patient-reported outcomes observed in this trial suggest Opdivo has the potential to represent an important new second-line treatment option for patients with advanced oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, offering the possibility to extend their survival and improve their quality of life during treatment,” remarked Dr Byoung Chul Cho, Professor at the Yonsei University College of Medicine.

Dr Ian M Waxman, Development Lead, Gastrointestinal Cancers at Bristol-Myers Squibb, also commented: “These are very promising results for patients with advanced oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma for whom prognosis is typically poor and are particularly important given Opdivo improved survival regardless of PD-L1 status. We are encouraged to see important progress being made in this tumour type and look forward to broadening our research in gastrointestinal tumours.”

Matt Fellows

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