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

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


Cancer and Palliative Care

January 2020

Nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab is in clinical development as a neoadjuvant treatment for early stage (stage IB-IIIA), resectable 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 the affected lung or the whole lung, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. However, the long-term outlook for patients undergoing this treatment pathway is still poor. Neoadjuvant therapy, which is administered prior to surgery to reduce the tumour size, 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 works by improving the activity of white blood cells (T-cells) thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Ipilimumab has a different mode of action but also increases the activity of T-cells against the cancer cells. If licensed, nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab may offer an additional treatment option for patients with early-stage, operable NSCLC.

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