Opdivo + Yervoy combination could be an alternative to ‘Extreme’ chemotherapy in some head and neck cancers.
The immunotherapies nivolumab and ipilimumab from Bristol Myers Squibb, helped some patients with advanced head and neck cancer live longer, compared with ‘Extreme’ standard treatment consisting of an aggressive cocktail of two chemotherapy drugs and a targeted antibody treatment (comprised of cetuximab (Erbitux), cisplatin/carboplatin, and fluorouracil). The results were not statistically significant, but the immunotherapy combination, designed to spark the immune system into action against cancer, led to a positive trend in survival when compared to the ‘Extreme’ standard in a group of patients - those with tumours that had high levels of an immune marker called PD-L1.
In fact, survival rates for patients with high levels of PD-L1 who received the immunotherapy combination were the highest ever reported in a first-line therapy trial of relapsed or metastatic head and neck cancer.
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