Drug shows early promise in treating patients with small-cell lung cancer

An early round of clinical testing shows that users of Opdivo, a drug sanctioned for treatment of small-cell lung cancer, more than tripled their five-year survival rate beyond the statistical average.

Opdivo maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. announced the findings April 3 during an annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

The study's author was quoted in an announcement as saying typical survival rates measured over a five-year interval have hovered around 5 percent.

"We observe that the estimated five-year overall survival rate in Opdivo-treated patients in the study was 16 percent," said Dr. Scott N. Gettinger, an associate professor of medicine at Yale Cancer Center in New Haven. "In addition, based on investigator assessments, the majority of these patients showed no evidence that their lung cancer had progressed at the time of their last follow-up."

The Phase 1 test gauged patients’ responses to the intravenous drug bimonthly over a maximum of 96 weeks, the announcement said. Three-quarters of those tested stayed in remission during the assessment period.


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