Nivolumab in combination with chemotherapy is in clinical development as a neoadjuvant treatment for early-stage (stage IB-IIIA) operable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer. Early-stage lung cancer is typically treated with surgery consisting of removing either part of or the whole of the lung, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy (adjuvant). However, the long-term outlook for patients undergoing this treatment pathway is still poor. Treatment with medicines prior to surgery (neoadjuvant) may provide better long-term survival prospects for patients with early-stage operable NSCLC.
Nivolumab is a medicinal product called an immune checkpoint inhibitor. It is administered by intravenous infusion (injection into the vein) and works by improving the activity of white blood cells (T-cells) thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Nivolumab as a monotherapy is already licensed for a range of advanced cancers where it has shown treatment benefits. If licensed in combination with chemotherapy, it may offer an additional neoadjuvant treatment option for patients with early-stage, operable NSCLC who currently have few well tolerated and effective therapies available.
Atezolizumab is in clinical development, in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, who have received no prior systemic therapy (a drug which travels through the bloodstream and affects the whole body). Urothelial cancer, a subset of bladder cancer, occurs on the lining of the bladder, and other parts of the urinary system. In advanced urothelial cancer, the cancer has grown into deeper layers including connective tissue or muscle. Metastatic urothelial cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or bones.