FDA OKs First-Line Immunotherapy Combo for Mesothelioma

The FDA on Friday approved dual checkpoint blockade with nivolumab (Opdivo) plus ipilimumab (Yervoy) for the first-line treatment of unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Support for the approval was based on findings from CheckMate 743, an open-label phase III trial that randomized 605 patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma to either standard platinum-based chemotherapy or the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (360 mg every 3 weeks) in combination with the anti-CTLA-4 drug ipilimumab (1 mg/kg every 6 weeks).

“Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer with limited treatment options. When it is diagnosed in advanced stages, the five-year survival rate is approximately 10 percent,” said investigator Anne Tsao, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in a press release from drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb. “The survival results from the CheckMate-743 trial show that the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab could become a new front-line standard of care option. This is exciting news, instilling

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Immunotherapy drug boosts survival for lung cancer patients

A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms.

The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq, or atezolizumab, was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancers, or NSCLC, which comprise up to 85% of all lung tumors.

Tecentriq targets a protein known as PD-L1 that lies on the surface of tumor cells. Normally, this protein signals the body’s immune system T cells not to attack. However, by targeting PD-L1, Tecentriq unleashes the body’s natural T cells to target and destroy these cancer cells, researchers at Yale Cancer Center explained.

Tecentriq “has already shown excellent activity in patients who progress on frontline chemotherapy, but this study confirmed that the drug is active in selected patients who have not yet received any treatment for lung cancer,”

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