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NICE recommends new life-extending treatment for rare form of gastroesophageal cancer

Published on 25/11/22 at 10:26am

Clinical evidence shows Bristol Myers Squibb’s nivolumab, with chemotherapy, could help extend the lives of patients with untreated HER2-negative, advanced or metastatic gastric, gastroesophageal junction, or oesophageal adenocarcinoma, if the tumours express PD-L1.


HER2-negative cancer cells tend to grow more slowly and are less likely to spread.


This evidence has shown that nivolumab with chemotherapy increases time before the cancer worsens, in turn increasing life expectancy. It is hoped that 8% of people will now achieve long-term remission, compared to the current 4%. The current recommended dose is 360mg every three weeks, or 240mg every two weeks.


Nivolumab, a targeted immunotherapy, is designed to recognise and attach to a specific protein called programmed death-1 receptor (PD-1). This protein can stop the immune system from attacking the cancer cells; by attaching to PD-1, nivolumab blocks PD-1 and the body can attack the cancer.


Helen Knight, interim director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “The combination of nivolumab plus chemotherapy not only has the potential to slow the disease down and extend life for people with these forms of cancer, but there is some promise of long-term remission. We know there is a significant impact on the quality of life for people with these forms of advanced cancer and therefore I’m delighted that we have been able to recommend this innovative treatment for people with these rare forms of gastroesophageal cancer. We are determined to drive ground-breaking treatments such as this into the hands of health and care professionals.”

James Spargo

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