The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Bristol Myers Squibb’s (BMS) Opdivo (nivolumab) as a treatment option for certain resected oesophageal or gastro-oesophageal junction (GEJ) patients.

Opdivo has been cleared as an adjuvant treatment of completely resected oesophageal or GEJ cancer in adults who have residual disease following neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.

The recommendation was made based on clinical trial evidence showing that, for people who had residual disease after chemoradiotherapy and following surgery, Opdivo increases the time individuals’ live without their cancer returning compared to placebo.

In a statement, NICE added that Opdivo is likely to be more effective at extending how long people live overall, although the clinical trial evidence to demonstrate this is not yet available.

According to BMS, there are around 200 people in England who are eligible for this treatment. The company has also agreed a commercial agreement which makes Opdivo available to the NHS with a discount.

The main two types of oesophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma – squamous cell carcinoma typically affects the upper and middle oesophagus, while adenocarcinoma usually affects the lower oesophagus, including the gastro-oesophageal junction.