From David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH, medical oncologist, hematologist and co-director of the department of clinical research at OHC

December 10, 2020

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published an article in its November 2020 issue about a study evaluating the extended use of nivolumab (Opdivo) for certain patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). As the lead author of the study, I want to explain the significance of these findings.

Years ago, the thought was patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer shouldn’t even be treated because the prognosis was so grim. The rapid adoption of immunotherapy to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer has significantly changed their potential for long-term survival. However, it hasn’t been determined yet how long patients should take the immunotherapy and still benefit.

Through the clinical trial, CheckMate 153, we set out to determine if there would be any benefit to the patients if nivolumab was continued – instead of stopping it after one year. We were excited to see that the initial analysis indicates that continuing nivolumab after one year appears to be safe and effective at keeping non-small cell lung cancer in remission for certain patients.

Initial results showed patients who continued taking nivolumab averaged 24.7 months before their cancer began to progress. Patients who stopped taking it after one year averaged 9.4 months. This gives patients hope for a longer survival rate.

In the first clinical trials to evaluate nivolumab for non-small cell lung cancer, OHC was one of the highest enrolling groups in the United States and worldwide. It later became the first immunotherapy treatment for lung cancer to receive FDA approval.

With advancements like nivolumab, OHC is giving patients a wonderful sense of hope, and we want to do this for all cancer patients. This is why more work is needed to identify more of these breakthrough therapies.

Our team of cancer experts at OHC are always searching for new and innovative treatments to help patients beat their cancer. To learn more about the treatments, services and clinical trials at OHC, or to request a second opinion, visit or call 1-888-649-4800. To read the full report, visit the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s web site.

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