Importance: Metastatic squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (SQ NSCLC) is a serious and life-threatening malignant condition with unmet medical need. In late December 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obtained the data monitoring committee report of a planned interim analysis of a trial in second-line SQ NSCLC (CM017) that demonstrated an overall survival benefit for patients treated with nivolumab compared with docetaxel.
Observations: In that trial, 272 patients with metastatic SQ NSCLC patients had been randomized to receive nivolumab (n = 135) or docetaxel (n = 137). Median overall survival was 9.2 months for patients randomized to nivolumab and 6.0 months for those randomized to docetaxel (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.44-0.79; P < .001). The safety of nivolumab was evaluated in a single-arm trial of 117 patients in previously treated metastatic SQ NSCLC and was consistent with the safety profile in melanoma, with rare but serious immune-mediated adverse events managed with corticosteroids and dose interruption.
Conclusions and relevance: The FDA granted nivolumab traditional approval on March 4, 2015, for treatment of metastatic SQ NSCLC with progression during or after platinum-based chemotherapy. The approval provides an important treatment option for these patients, affecting routine care and clinical trials.