WCLC: Bristol's Opdivo scores again in tough-to-treat mesothelioma, this time flying solo

Bristol's Opdivo, in tandem with fellow BMS med Yervoy, is approved for first-line mesothelioma.

Last year at the World Conference on Lung Cancer, Bristol Myers Squibb made waves in mesothelioma with data showing its Opdivo-Yervoy duo could slash the risk of death in previously untreated patients. This year, it grabbed the spotlight with another survival win in the tough-to-treat disease.

Saturday, solo Opdivo became the first med to show in a randomized phase 3 trial that it could extend the lives of previously treated mesothelioma patients, cutting their risk of death by 28% against placebo. Those taking Opdivo lived for a median 9.2 months, versus 6.6 months for those in the placebo arm.

Opdivo also staved off disease worsening, slashing the risk of progression or death by 39%. At the one-year mark, 14.5% of Opdivo patients hadn’t seen their cancer worsen, and only 4.9% of placebo patients could say the same.

RELATED: WCLC: Bristol Myers' Opdivo-Yervoy duo slashes mesothelioma death risk by 26%

The results follow on the heels of Opdivo’s performance in first-line mesothelioma from the last WCLC meeting in August. In tandem with Yervoy, BMS’ checkpoint star pared down patients’ risk of death by 26% against chemo, a showing that ultimately earned the pair an FDA green light.

And that’s part of what makes the new data “very exciting,” Sabine Maier, Bristol’s head of oncology clinical development, said.

The trial those new data come from, called Confirm, “falls right in line with what we presented last year,” and it’s “really important” for underscoring Opdivo’s benefit in mesothelioma, she said.

While Opdivo may have demonstrated a benefit in second-line patients, though, BMS is hoping to see most people with mesothelioma treated with the Opdivo-Yervoy pairing upfront.

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“I obviously can’t speak to how physicians will make decisions in the clinic, but based on the data we’ve seen, we think this will change the standard of care in the first-line setting,” she said of the Opdivo-Yervoy regimen.

Still, the way BMS sees it, the Confirm data is still important. Having the two data sets “almost back-to-back, within a short time of each other, really demonstrates the value” of BMS’ therapies, Maier said.