Bristol-Myers Squibb has revealed that a combination of its immunotherapies Opdivo and Yervoy was superior to chemo alone in keeping disease progression at bay in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The ongoing Phase III CheckMate-227 study has met its co-primary endpoint of showing the combination induced a significant improvement in progression-free survival in first-line NSCLC patients with high Tumor Mutation Burden (TMB) regardless of PD-L1 expression.

“TMB has emerged as an important biomarker for the activity of immunotherapy. For the first time, this Phase III study shows superior PFS with first-line combination immunotherapy in a predefined population of NSCLC patients with high TMB,” said Matthew Hellmann, study investigator and medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“CheckMate-227 showed that TMB is an important, independent predictive biomarker that can identify a population of first-line NSCLC patients who may benefit from the nivolumab plus ipilimumab combination.”

Full results are to be presented at a future medical congress. In the meantime, the trial will now continue as planned to assess the Opdivo(nivolumab)/Yervoy (ipilimumab) combination for the other co-primary endpoint of overall survival in patients whose tumors express PD-L1.