Gastric cancer is cancer that starts anywhere inside the stomach or the stomach wall. Advanced gastric cancer can be locally advanced (has spread into the tissues around the stomach) or metastatic (has spread to at least one other part of the body such as the liver). Most gastric cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage. Advanced cancers have poor prognosis and usually cannot be cured. However, it may be controlled, and symptoms can be relieved through treatment.
Nivolumab is a medicinal product that is currently licensed in the UK for the treatment of several types of advanced cancers such as melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and kidney cancer. It is a monoclonal antibody that acts by preventing the inhibition of T-cells (part of the body’s immune system that fight cancer) through binding to a protein called programmed cell death 1 (PD-1). Nivolumab is being developed to be used in addition to chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with advanced gastric cancer who have not had treatment previously. If licensed, nivolumab in combination with chemotherapy will offer an additional first-line treatment option for this patient group.
Pembrolizumab is a drug administered by intravenous infusion which stimulates the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. If licensed, pembrolizumab in addition to chemotherapy could provide an additional or alternative treatment option to patients who currently have limited treatment options.