Nivolumab vs investigator's choice in recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: 2-year long-term survival update of CheckMate 141 with analyses by tumor PD-L1 expression.
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OBJECTIVES: We report 2-year results from CheckMate 141 to establish the long-term efficacy and safety profile of nivolumab and outcomes by tumor PD-L1 expression in patients with recurrent or metastatic (R/M),platinum-refractory squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). METHODS: Patients with R/M SCCHN with tumor progression/recurrence within 6 months of platinum therapy were randomized 2:1 to nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks or investigator's choice (IC). Primary endpoint: overall survival (OS). Data cutoff: September 2017. RESULTS: With 24.2 months' minimum follow-up, nivolumab (n = 240) continued to improve OS vs IC (n = 121), hazard ratio (HR) = 0.68 (95% CI 0.54-0.86). Nivolumab nearly tripled the estimated 24-month OS rate (16.9%) vs IC (6.0%), and demonstrated OS benefit across patients with tumor PD-L1 expression ≥1% (HR [95% CI] = 0.55 [0.39-0.78]) and < 1% (HR [95% CI] = 0.73 [0.49-1.09]), and regardless of tumor HPV status. Estimated OS rates at 18, 24, and 30 months with nivolumab were consistent irrespective of PD-L1 expression (<1%/≥1%). In the nivolumab arm, there were no observed differences in baseline characteristics or safety profile between long-term survivors and the overall population. Grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse event rates were 15.3% and 36.9% for nivolumab and IC, respectively. CONCLUSION: Nivolumab significantly improved OS at the primary analysis and demonstrated prolonged OS benefit vs IC and maintenance of a manageable and consistent safety profile with 2-year follow-up. OS benefit was observed with nivolumab irrespective of PD-L1 expression and HPV status. (Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02105636).
Version of record
CD274 protein, human (PD-L1 Protein, Human)
Carcinoma, squamous cell of head and neck
Clinical Trial, Phase III
Head and Neck Neoplasms
Papillomaviridae (HPV, Human Papillomavirus Viruses)
Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
Survivors (Long-term Survivors)
License start date
Oral Oncol, 2018, 81 pp. 45 - 51