The following article features coverage from the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2020 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Nivolumab and ipilimumab appear to be a safe and effective first-line combination in patients with advanced non-small–cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to resesarch presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Previous research showed high efficacy with nivolumab and ipilimumab among patients with melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, or NSCLC. The combination is approved for patients with PD-L1-positive NSCLC without EGFR or ALK mutations. In this presentation, researchers enumerated 3-year safety and efficacy results from the randomized phase 3 CheckMate 227 study ( Identifier: NCT02477826).

Overall, 1189 patients were randomly assigned to receive the immunotherapy combination, nivolumab only, or chemotherapy; 68% of patients in all groups had PD-L1 expression of at least 1%.

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The median follow-up was 43.1 months. The median overall survival (OS) in the immunotherapy group was 17.1 months vs 14.9 with chemotherapy (hazard ratio, .79). Median OS was 17.2 months among patients with PD-L1 expression of less than 1% vs 17.1 months among those with PD-L1 expression of 1% or more.

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At 3 years, 18% of patients with PD-L1 expression of at least 1% were progression-free, vs 12% with nivolumab only and 4% with chemotherapy.

Overall, grade 3 to 4 adverse events (AEs) were noted in 33% of patients receiving the immunotherapy combination vs 36% of patients receiving chemotherapy. Grade 3 to 4 AE rates were lower among patients with PD-L1 expression of at least 1% receiving nivolumab (20%) vs those with PD-L1 expression less than 1% receiving the immunotherapy combination (56%).

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the ASCO 2021 meeting by visiting the conference page.


Ramalingam SS, Ciuleanu TE, Pluzanski A, et al. Nivolumab + ipilimumab versus platinum-doublet chemotherapy as first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Three-year update from CheckMate 227 Part 1. Presented at: ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(suppl):abstr 9500.