Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) demonstrated promise in a phase III CheckMate-577 trial involving patients with oesophageal or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancers who had previously receiving neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy (CRT) and tumour resection.

The results, presented at the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) virtual congress, demonstrated that median disease-free survival doubled in patients receiving Opdivo (nivolumab) treatment compared to those receiving placebo after surgery.

The median duration of treatment of treatment for patients in the Opdivo arm was 10.1 months compared to nine months in the placebo arm. The checkpoint inhibitor was also well tolerated, with an acceptable safety profile relative to placebo.

“These results make oesophageal and gastroesophageal junction cancer the second cancer type – following melanoma – where Opdivo has demonstrated a benefit in the adjuvant setting, indicating the potential for Opdivo to become a new standard of care for these patients,” said Ian Waxman,  development lead, Gastrointestinal Cancers at Bristol Myers Squibb.

“This advancement showcases our commitment to evaluating our therapies in earlier stages of disease where we may be able to have a greater impact on preventing disease recurrence and improving patient outcomes,” he added.

BMS intendeds to discuss the results from the CheckMate-577 study with global health authorities in the next few months as it chases approval in this setting.