EU Joins U.S. in Approving Immunotherapy Combination for Mesothelioma

Eight months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, the European Union has done the same. The innovative immunotherapy protocol is now one of the most promising therapies available for treating patients whose pleural mesothelioma has been identified as unresectable.

Opdivo and Yervoy Offers Superior Overall Survival for Inoperable Mesothelioma 

Approval of the new mesothelioma treatment follows positive results from the CheckMate 743 trial, which reported that the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy offered superior overall survival results over the existing standard-of-care treatment of pemetrexed and cisplatin or carboplatin chemotherapy. According to study author Paul Baas, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Thoracic Oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the University of Leiden, “After many years of limited progress in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, we saw an important clinical benefit for patients with nivolumab plus ipilumumab in the CheckMate 743 trial.”

The new mesothelioma protocol is the first to be approved in the EU for over 15 years, and had already been approved by the United States and several other nations. Its use will be particularly important in the European Union, which has seen its citizenry badly affected by asbestos-related diseases. According to Stefania Vallone, board member of Women Against Lung Cancer in Europe, “Mesothelioma can be a devastating diagnosis for patients and their families, and the disease has a significant impact throughout Europe, which has the highest incidence rate of mesothelioma globally.”

Mesothelioma Regimen Considered a “New Standard of Care”

Following the CheckMate 743 phase 3 trial of the immunotherapy drug combination, Dr. Baas said that its having met the “primary endpoint of statistically improving overall survival for the experimental arm vs. chemotherapy in a prespecified interim analysis” means that it should be considered a new standard of care. Those studies revealed an improvement of 26% in overall survival at two years, and an added 4 months in median overall survival.

Mesothelioma researchers continue to develop groundbreaking treatment options. For information on how to access these treatments and other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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