Nivolumab in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil is in clinical development for patients with unresectable, advanced, recurrent or metastatic oesophageal squamous cell cancer cell carcinoma. Advanced oesophageal cancer begins in the food pipe and spreads to other parts of the body. Squamous cell cancers develop from the cells that make up the inner lining of the oesophagus. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, persistent acid indigestion or heartburn, weight loss, pain in the throat, and chronic cough. Lifestyle factors are attributed to most oesophageal cancers, including smoking and being overweight.
Nivolumab administered by intravenous infusion, works by improving the activity of white blood cells (T-cells) thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Cisplatin and fluorouracil are both standard chemotherapies that are used in treating many different types of advanced or metastatic cancers. If licensed, nivolumab in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil may offer an additional treatment option for patients with advanced, recurrent, unresectable or metastatic oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.