Purpose: Programmed death 1 is an immune checkpoint that suppresses antitumor immunity. Nivolumab, a fully human immunoglobulin G4 programmed death 1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, was active and generally well tolerated in patients with advanced solid tumors treated in a phase I trial with expansion cohorts. We report overall survival (OS), response durability, and long-term safety in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving nivolumab in this trial.
Patients and methods: Patients (N = 129) with heavily pretreated advanced NSCLC received nivolumab 1, 3, or 10 mg/kg intravenously once every 2 weeks in 8-week cycles for up to 96 weeks. Tumor burden was assessed by RECIST (version 1.0) after each cycle.
Results: Median OS across doses was 9.9 months; 1-, 2-, and 3-year OS rates were 42%, 24%, and 18%, respectively, across doses and 56%, 42%, and 27%, respectively, at the 3-mg/kg dose (n = 37) chosen for further clinical development. Among 22 patients (17%) with objective responses, estimated median response duration was 17.0 months. An additional six patients (5%) had unconventional immune-pattern responses. Response rates were similar in squamous and nonsquamous NSCLC. Eighteen responding patients discontinued nivolumab for reasons other than progressive disease; nine (50%) of those had responses lasting > 9 months after their last dose. Grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 14% of patients. Three treatment-related deaths (2% of patients) occurred, each associated with pneumonitis.
Conclusion: Nivolumab monotherapy produced durable responses and encouraging survival rates in patients with heavily pretreated NSCLC. Randomized clinical trials with nivolumab in advanced NSCLC are ongoing.
© 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.