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Nivolumab Extends Lung Cancer Survival

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CHICAGO — This year's American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting kicks off with one of the hottest topics — immunotherapy. And long-awaited results from the phase 3 study of nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) in lung cancer, released today, do not disappoint.

For patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer who deteriorated after platinum-based chemotherapy, those treated with nivolumab lived an average of 3 months longer than those treated with docetaxel.

Nivolumab could become a new standard therapy for patients with previously treated lung cancer, Luis Paz-Ares, MD, from University Hospital in Madrid, said in a statement.

Topline results released in January led to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration; however, nivolumab has not yet been granted approval in Europe.

"Even 5 years ago, an effective immunotherapy for lung cancer was largely considered impossible," ASCO spokesperson Gregory Masters, MD, pointed out in a news release. "Today, we have such a treatment, and it surpasses the standard therapy both in terms of efficacy and patient quality of life," he said.

The Medscape Oncology news team attended today's news conference and is interviewing researchers and other thought leaders for their reaction and opinions about what this will mean for clinical practice. They'll have updates throughout the day.

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