Opdivo increases survival in relapsed mesothelioma

Published: 3 February 2021

PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) increased survival in patients with relapsed mesothelioma; hailed as a “game changer”

Results of the phase III CONFIRM trial were reported at the World Conference on Lung Cancer. The trial involved 332 UK patients with mesothelioma whose cancer was progressing despite chemotherapy treatment. The immunotherapy significantly improved both overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) over placebo, by 28% and 39% respectively. 

“This trial shows clear evidence of benefit and marks a major breakthrough in the treatment of mesothelioma, a disease where there are currently very few options for patients when first-line chemotherapy has stopped working and prognosis is often very poor,” commented Professor Gareth Griffiths, director of the Cancer Research UK Southampton Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Southampton, who co-led the study. “This is the first study ever to show improved survival and we therefore believe that nivolumab could be a game-changer for treating mesothelioma patients in the future” he added.

The promising results were achieved despite COVID-19 related setbacks which saw recruitment to the study stopped early. The charity Mesothelioma UK supported the study by covering patient travel, and CEO Liz Darlison commented in a press release: “We're focused on equitable access to clinical trials so the CONFIRM trial team is to be congratulated on having so many sites open, so well distributed across the country. These results have the potential to provide a long overdue new treatment option and a huge dose of hope. We thank all involved, especially the patients that took part."