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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Nivolumab in combination with chemotherapy for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer – neoadjuvant

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Nivolumab in combination with chemotherapy for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer – neoadjuvant


Cancer and Palliative Care

January 2020

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.

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