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Bristol Myers Squibb announces NICE recommendation for Opdivo plus Yervoy to treat unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma

The treatment combination is the first immunotherapy of its kind in over ten years to be made available via the NHS


Bristol Myers Squibb has announced that the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) plus Yervoy (ipilimumab) for the first-line treatment of adult patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), in England and Wales.

The treatment combination is the first immunotherapy in over ten years to be made available via the NHS for the treatment of untreated, unresectable MPM.

The recommendation is supported by three-year follow up data from an ongoing phase 3 study, CheckMate-743, which demonstrated improved overall survival among unresectable MPM patients who received first line treatment with Opdivo plus Yervoy, compared to chemotherapy. Patients treated with Opdivo plus Yervoy lived a median of four months longer than those who received chemotherapy alone.

Within the final appraisal document (FAD), NICE also recommended extending the guidance of Opdivo plus Yervoy to treat rarer forms of mesothelioma found in the pericardium and peritoneum.

MPM is a type of mesothelioma that affects the chest and lungs and is often diagnosed late due to few early symptoms. The UK has the highest mesothelioma mortality rates globally, with approximately 2,700 people diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year, MPM representing 90% of these cases.

80% of MPM cases are a result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace, with rates of MPM having increased by around three-fifths in the UK since the 1990s, due to the heavy industrial use of asbestos up until the mid-1970s.

Opdivo is designed to try to help the natural T-cell response to cancer, by improving the body’s ability to recognise and destroy cancerous cells, while Yervoy blocks T-cell inhibitory signals induced by the CTLA-4 pathway, increasing the number of reactive T Effector cells, which mobilise to mount a direct T-cell immune attack against tumour cells.

Commenting on the recommendation, Liz Darlison, chief executive officer, Mesothelioma UK, said: “Mesothelioma is a devastating and hard to treat disease with people often diagnosed at a late stage and typically facing a poor prognosis. This decision from NICE has the potential to change the outlook for patients with MPM.

“We know that asbestos exposure causes the majority of MPM cases, and it is important that we continue to raise awareness of the symptoms and risk factors.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

15th July 2022

From: Regulatory



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