(HealthDay News) — Neoadjuvant nivolumab is associated with favorable 5-year outcomes in patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to researchers. These 5-year outcomes were reported in Clinical Cancer Research.

The study was the first phase 1/2 trial of neoadjuvant nivolumab in resectable NSCLC. Twenty-one patients with stage I to IIIA NSCLC were given 2 doses of nivolumab for 4 weeks before surgery. The median follow-up was 63 months.

At 5 years, the recurrence-free survival (RFS) rate was 60%, and the overall survival rate was 80%. There was a trend toward favorable RFS in patients who achieved a major pathological response (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.15 to 2.44) and those who were PD-L1 positive prior to treatment (hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% Cl, 0.07 to 1.85).

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Eight of 9 patients with a major pathological response were alive and disease-free at 5 years of follow-up. There were no cancer-related deaths in patients who had a major pathological response. However, 6 of 11 patients without a major pathological response had a relapse, and 3 died.

“Neoadjuvant nivolumab monotherapy in NSCLC led to favorable long-term clinical outcomes, with a low rate of toxicity,” the study authors wrote. “Clinicians should be confident in using immune checkpoint blockade in the preoperative setting.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol Myers Squibb, which manufactures nivolumab and partially funded the study.

Abstract/Full Text