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ASCO 2015: Immunotherapy Shines

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Three days into the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, there have been hundreds of data presentations, but a few have stuck out. The stand-outs come from across therapeutic categories and range from the hot area of immunotherapy to already-marketed products.

BMS changes the landscape

Bristol-Myers Squibb had a variety of data presentations at the conference, but its Checkmate-057 data caused quite a stir. The company's stock sold off when the late-breaking abstract was first released on 29 May due to the overall survival benefit only being seen in PD-L1 positive patients, but the full data presentation the following day has got analysts raving about the potential of Opdivo (nivolumab) in second-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The Phase III study of 582 previously-treated NSCLC patients showed that Opdivo was associated with a 27% reduction in the risk of progression or death compared with standard-of-care chemotherapy docetaxel. The drug compared with chemotherapy showed the best overall survival benefit – virtually double – in patients with greater than or equal to 10% PD-L1 expression (19.4 months vs 8.0 months).

Median Overall Survival Benefit by PD-L1 Expression


Level of Expression






? 1%


17.2 months


9.0 months




10.4 months


10.1 months


? 5%


18.2 months


8.1 months




9.7 months


10.1 months


? 10%


19.4 months


8.0 months




9.9 months


10.3 months


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