(HealthDay News) — For patients with recurrent cervical cancer after first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy, survival is significantly longer with cemiplimab than with single-agent chemotherapy, according to a study published in the Feb. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Krishnansu S. Tewari, M.D., from the University of California in Irvine, and colleagues enrolled patients with recurrent cervical cancer who had disease progression after first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy, regardless of their programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status.

A total of 608 women were randomly assigned to receive either cemiplimab or the investigator’s choice of single-agent chemotherapy (304 in each group).

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The researchers found that median overall survival was longer in the cemiplimab group than the chemotherapy group in the overall trial population (12.0 versus 8.5 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.69). In both histologic subgroups (squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma), the overall survival benefit was consistent.

In the overall population, progression-free survival was also longer in the cemiplimab versus chemotherapy group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.75), and significantly more patients had an objective response (16.4 versus 6.3 percent). An objective response occurred in 18 and 11 percent of cemiplimab-treated patients with PD-L1 expression ≥1 percent and <1 percent, respectively.

“The overall survival benefit with cemiplimab was consistent in clinically relevant subgroups, including patients with adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma and patients with previous bevacizumab exposure,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Regeneron and Sanofi, the manufacturers of cemiplimab.

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