JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Nivolumab for treating non-small cell lung cancer

Nicolas Guibert, Julien Mazières
Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy 2015, 15 (12): 1789-97
26574148

INTRODUCTION: Diversion of the immune checkpoint PD-1/PD-L1 by a tumor in order to escape antitumor immunity is a hallmark of NSCLC, but offers promising new strategies. Nivolumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody, is the first PD-1 inhibitor to be approved to treat metastatic NSCLC after exciting results obtained from clinical trials.

AREAS COVERED: This review aims to:) clarify the mechanism of action and toxicities of PD-1 inhibitors; recapitulate the results from various clinical trials that have evaluated nivolumab as a monotherapy for metastatic NSCLC; discuss the clinical and translational research axes to better use this molecule; and summarize the therapeutic combinations currently under evaluation.

EXPERT OPINION: The contribution of this molecule to treat NSCLC is undeniable, making it a new standard of care after prior chemotherapy. Its toxicity profile is favorable but a good knowledge of new and potentially severe immune-related adverse effects such as endocrinopathy or interstitial pneumonitis is essential for its early detection and management. Better selection of patients is needed, particularly based on the discovery of predictive biomarkers, such as PD-L1 expression. Multiple associations with other checkpoint inhibitors, chemotherapy and targeted therapies are currently being studied and should pave the way toward new uses for this drug.

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