Nivolumab, a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, has demonstrated improved survival over docetaxel in previously treated advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). First-line monotherapy with nivolumab for advanced NSCLC was evaluated in the phase I, multicohort, Checkmate 012 trial.
Fifty-two patients received nivolumab 3 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks until progression or unacceptable toxicity; postprogression treatment was permitted per protocol. The primary objective was to assess safety; secondary objectives included objective response rate (ORR) and 24-week progression-free survival (PFS) rate; overall survival (OS) was an exploratory end point.
Any-grade treatment-related adverse events (AEs) occurred in 71% of patients, most commonly: fatigue (29%), rash (19%), nausea (14%), diarrhea (12%), pruritus (12%), and arthralgia (10%). Ten patients (19%) reported grade 3 to 4 treatment-related AEs; grade 3 rash was the only grade 3 to 4 event occurring in more than one patient (n = 2; 4%). Six patients (12%) discontinued because of a treatment-related AE. The confirmed ORR was 23% (12 of 52), including four ongoing complete responses. Nine of 12 responses (75%) occurred by first tumor assessment (week 11); eight (67%) were ongoing (range, 5.3+ to 25.8+ months) at the time of data lock. ORR was 28% (nine of 32) in patients with any degree of tumor PD–ligand 1 expression and 14% (two of 14) in patients with no PD–ligand 1 expression. Median PFS was 3.6 months, and the 24-week PFS rate was 41% (95% CI, 27 to 54). Median OS was 19.4 months, and the 1-year and 18-month OS rates were 73% (95% CI, 59 to 83) and 57% (95% CI, 42 to 70), respectively.
First-line nivolumab monotherapy demonstrated a tolerable safety profile and durable responses in first-line advanced NSCLC.