Despite the best efforts of scientists around the globe, malignant pleural mesothelioma continues to carry an extremely poor prognosis, with a five-year survival rate of just 10%. Still, patients are benefitting from research. The Checkmate-743 trial recently yielded a report of increased durable overall survival in mesothelioma from the immunotherapy combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab.
Patients Not Eligible for Surgery Benefit from Immunotherapy
The Checkmate-743 study measured the effectiveness of nivolumab and ipilimumab as a first line treatment in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who were ineligible for surgery. After 35.5 months, 23% of patients receiving the protocol were alive, compared to only 15% of those who received chemotherapy as their first-line treatment. The study also showed that the immunotherapy combination delivered an improvement in median overall survival and a reduction in the risk of death.
In a press release issued on the results, Solange Peters, MD, PhD, chair of thoracic oncology at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, said, “In this aggressive cancer that historically has had limited treatment options, we’ve now not only seen the potential for patients to live longer with nivolumab plus ipilimumab, but that this benefit is sustained at 3 years compared to treatment with chemotherapy.”
Immunotherapy Study Shows More Sustained Benefit for Mesothelioma than Chemotherapy
One of the most important takeaways from the study is the sustained benefit that the immunotherapy combination delivered for mesothelioma patients. The study showed that 28% of patients who responded to the protocol remained in response at three years. This was not true of any of the patients who received chemotherapy. The median duration of response to chemotherapy was 6.7 months, while the dual immunotherapy combination had a median duration of response of 11.6 months, nearly twice as long.
Commenting on the results, Abderrahim Oukessou, MD, vice president and thoracic cancers development lead at Bristol Myers Squibb said, “The results from the CheckMate-743 trial have changed the way physicians treat malignant pleural mesothelioma, a disease that had no new systemic treatment options for nearly 15 years before the approval of Opdivo plus Yervoy. We continue to see more evidence for the sustained survival benefits of dual immunotherapy across several tumors, including durable overall survival at 4 years in non-small cell lung cancer. Now, the combination has demonstrated long-term improvements in overall survival in mesothelioma, another thoracic cancer, extending the lives of patients with a devastating disease.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on this or any other innovative treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.