First-line therapy combining nivolumab with chemotherapy improved median overall survival rates in patients with PD-L1-expressing gastric cancer by 3.3 months in a large international, multicenter trial. The findings were reported during the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology virtual meeting.
The researchers randomized 1,581 patients with previously untreated, unresectable advanced, or metastatic gastric cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer, or esophageal adenocarcinoma, regardless of PD-L1 expression, to one of two treatment arms: nivolumab plus chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone. After 12 months of follow up, they found that patients with tumors that expressed PD-L1 in the combination therapy arm experienced a statistically significant improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival compared to those in the chemotherapy arm.
“Nivolumab is the first PD-1 inhibitor to demonstrate superior overall and progression-free survival in combination with chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in previously untreated patients with advanced gastric cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer, or esophageal adenocarcinoma, with a manageable safety profile,” the researchers concluded. “Nivolumab plus chemotherapy represents a potential new standard first-line treatment option for these patients.”